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Published
Sep 6, 2021
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​John Lewis Partnership face worker backlash in ‘poverty wages’ claim

Published
Sep 6, 2021

A petition that claims 20% of John Lewis Partnership workers don’t receive the real living wage has attracted almost 30,000 signatures.


John Lewis


Complaints of “poverty wages” and unhappiness over the suspension of the group’s annual worker bonus come as the business, which includes John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, attempts a major turnaround in its fortunes, reported The Telegraph.

Some employees claimed they receive less than the “real living wage” of £9.50 per hour, or £10.85 in London, and have struggled as a result. There was no explanation behind the claim but disgruntled workers shared letters describing financial difficulties and have launched an open petition via the Organise platform urging the firm to review their rates.

The petition says: “The John Lewis Partnership prides itself (and sells itself) on being employee-owned, which is supposed to make it a fairer, more ethical business. There’s nothing fair or ethical about paying your employees less than a living wage. The Partnership must change this and pay all Partners what we deserve.”

John Lewis said the hourly rate for all non-management partners was £10.32, above the “real living wage”, for the majority of UK staff. Minimum rates of pay are on average 15% higher than the official national minimum wage, a spokesman added. 

John Lewis has committed to raising the pay to at least the real living wage when it makes an annual profit of more than £200m.

Its staff bonus scheme was scrapped last year for the first time since 1953 and will not be reinstated until 2022 at the earliest.

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