The anonymous B&Q manager behind the petition against his employer has responded to the company’s latest justification of its changes to staff wages.
Going by the pseudonym Kevin Smith, he began a petition against the home & DIY retailer in February following the announcement that it would be altering salary structures in response to the National Living Wage. The petition has currently garnered over 130,000 signatures, and customers have joined employees in complaining to the chain.
In a statement to Retail Gazette, B&Q said it was “sorry” that certain employees were “upset by the changes.”
“This has been a difficult decision for us and our aim has always been to reward all of our people fairly so that employees who are doing the same job receive the same pay.”
The retailer added that it would be reviewing the changes in 12 months’ time and that it was committed to remaining “one of the best payers in retail.”
Smith is not alone in his campaign against the changes: Siobhain McDonagh MP used the retailer as an example in a speech to parliament on the National Living Wage, referring to a friend who would be going home with £2,600 a year less as a result of the changes.
“B&Q is one of the most knowledge based retailers,” Smith told Retail Gazette in response to B&Q’s statement. “Customers need support from product application to project advice. Every store has members of the team that offer that level of advice to customers and those people are generally the ones that have been with the business the longest. Now they are paid the same as everyone else.
The company’s claim about being one of the best paid retailers in the industry seams a facade given the amount of people who will take a net pay cut as a result of the living wage. What about loyalty to those in the business 10 or 20 years? I acknowledge the one-off payment to staff affected but what do they do after that money is gone?”