Sep 23, 2021

John Lewis faces staff backlash over senior bonuses

Managers at John Lewis Partnership have been heavily criticised by sections of their own workforce after paying bonuses to senior staff at a time when the retailer is making redundancies. Staff said more than 1,000 comments about the bonuses have been posted on the group's intranet, some pointing 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, which operates the Waitrose supermarket chain as well its namesake stores, paid a £200 bonus to 55,000 store staff last year in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic. John Lewis said the average award for the 16 senior managers was £12,281, rather than a rumoured £20,000, and that the vast majority of the payments went to front-line staff. It also said that 81 per cent of staff already receive the voluntary real living wage "And we've committed to pay it to everyone when our profits recover to £200m". Some John Lewis employees, working with the campaign group Organise, have called for it to be paid immediately.

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