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Published
Sep 24, 2021
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John Lewis staff angry over senior team bonuses

Published
Sep 24, 2021

John Lewis Partnership’s management is facing a worker backlash for the second time in a month.


John Lewis


This time it’s about paying bonuses to senior staff at a time when the retailer’s announcing redundancies. Earlier this month, Partnership staff had complained about “poverty wages” and their unhappiness over the suspension of the group’s annual worker bonus.

Now it’s emerged the UK retailer made almost 4,000 “special contribution awards”, including to 16 managers, last year to members of its 79,000 workforce. The awards are capped at 10% of salary for ‘exceptional service’ and have been in place for 10 years, but last year was the first time the wider partnership bonus had not been paid since 1953.

Staff said more than 1,000 comments about the bonuses have been posted on the group’s intranet, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the payment. Some pointed out that many hourly-paid employees worked in public-facing roles at the height of the pandemic while managers were more likely to work from home.

John Lewis said the average award for the 16 senior managers was £12,281 (not £20,000 as rumoured), and that the vast majority of the payments went to front-line staff.

John Lewis Partnership executive director for people, Nikki Humphrey, said in a video that the partnership council was to discuss the issue at a meeting. 

John Lewis chair Sharon White has pledged to restore the partnership bonus once profits clear £200 million and debt has fallen.

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