// John Lewis Partnership maintenance staff risk losing thousands of pounds in bonuses amid moves to outsource their roles, according to GMB union
// Earlier this year, John Lewis Partnership announced it would restructure its maintenance function as part of strategy to increase productivity
// GMB union pledges support to the 400 staff impacted, either by taking reduced or by having their roles outsourced to CBRE
A trade union representing John Lewis Partnership maintenance staff has said moves to outsource their roles places them as risk of losing thousands of pounds in bonuses.
Earlier this year, the partnership – which operates the eponymous department store chain as well as Waitrose – announced plans to restructure its maintenance function as part of a strategy to increase productivity.
The restructure, which followed an 18-month review of John Lewis Partnership’s maintenance function, includes moving the majority of activity and service provision to a single maintenance provider: CBRE.
The partnership said this would drive greater efficiency while improving maintenance service levels across its John Lewis and Waitrose stores, distribution network and head offices.
John Lewis Partnership added that the move will see 365 maintenance staff move to CBRE in July.
However, trade union GMB have now said that staff were “unhappy” about the prospect of moving to CBRE, and pledged to oppose any potential wage cuts or job losses in the move.
The union added that staff feared “severe cuts” to take-home pay and risk losing thousands of pounds a year through the loss of bonuses and benefits that come with being an employee of the John Lewis Partnership.
GMB said around 400 maintenance workers from across the country are either taking redundancy or are being outsourced to CBRE.
“CBRE are currently refusing to honour the defined benefit pension scheme, the store discounts, bonuses and other employee benefits that workers have received from John Lewis,” GMB regional manager Nikki Dancey said.
“Despite this, Waitrose and John Lewis wish to push on with the cost cutting, so staff will either take redundancy or will be doing the same work but for substantially lower overall pay, terms and conditions.
“Not surprisingly staff are deeply unhappy about the prospect of moving to CBRE and some face losing thousands of pounds a year through the loss of bonuses they have come to expect over many years of service.
“Many members tell us how John Lewis used to be a great company to work for, but that now their pay, terms and conditions, health and safety, and respect for the workforce is being steadily degraded.
“Staff no longer feel valued by John Lewis and Waitrose, and the company branding of being a ‘co-operative’ and workers being ‘partners’ are fast becoming a bad joke for many.
“GMB will be working with the maintenance staff across the country to ensure that they have some support through the transition and to represent them as future CBRE employees.
“In the long term, we want John Lewis to return to its more ethical roots and bring those staff back in-house.”
A John Lewis Partnership spokesperson said: “[Affected staff] will move over to CBRE on 1 July 2019 under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings – Protection of Employment) and we have been working hard with CBRE to ensure [staff] receive beneficial transfer terms.”