John Lewis makes staff wait to be partners 

John Lewis makes staff wait to be partners as cost of the National Living Wage begins to hit British businesses
Starters at John Lewis and Waitrose used to become partners upon joining 

Now they will be forced to pass a three month trial before they can qualify 

B&Q and Morrisons among firms offsetting growing wage bills by slashing perks

John Lewis is putting new recruits on probation for the first time in its 152 year history following the introduction of the National Living Wage.
Starters are at both John Lewis and Waitrose will be forced to pass a three-month trial before they can qualify as a fully fledged ‘partner’, but they will still be eligible to share in the group’s annual bonus.
Junior employees who fail the test are either given another month to prove themselves or are fired. Until now starters at both John Lewis and Waitrose became ‘partners’ automatically upon joining the group.
Changes: Starters are at both John Lewis and Waitrose will be forced to pass a three month trial before they can qualify as a ‘partner’ and become eligible for an annual bonus 

Changes: Starters are at both John Lewis and Waitrose will be forced to pass a three month trial before they can qualify as a ‘partner’ and become eligible for an annual bonus 

The group has always tried to set itself apart from its more cut-throat rivals as it is owned by its 91,500 staff – or partners – rather than shareholders.
But the living wage appears to have brought out a more ruthless streak in Middle England’s favourite retailer – which opened its first store on Oxford Street in 1864.
Bosses have also warned staff they must work harder in order to justify their increased salary.
The tough new stance has infuriated MPs which have expressed fears that John Lewis could be preparing to cut the famous perks for its employees.
Last year staff received an average annual bonus of £1584, with the group paying out £145million in total.
From April 1 all employees aged 25 and over must be paid the living wage of £7.20 an hour – 50p more than the previous minimum wage.
This has been hailed by campaigners as a victory for millions of low paid workers.
But a string of firms including B&Q and Morrisons have offset the growing wage bill by slashing other perks such as double pay on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Benefits: As partners in the business, Waitrose staff enjoy generous bonuses 

Benefits: As partners in the business, Waitrose staff enjoy generous bonuses 

In John Lewis’s latest business plan, it outlines ways to boost profits and increase the productivity of staff.
To ensure new joiners are up to scratch, it says they will have to undergo a ‘meaningful’ three month probation period.
The trial tests ‘their commitment to the partnership and their levels of productivity and engagement.’
The probation period can be extended for a month for junior roles and three months for senior positions if there are concerns.
Staff on probation will still be able to share in the annual bonus as long as they were employed by the group on January 31 of any bonus year.
The probation period will initially only be tested out in a number of John Lewis stores and Waitrose supermarkets.
But it will be extended across the UK is it proves to be a success.
Justifying the tougher approach, chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said employees must work harder to justify earning the higher living wage, which is set to rise above £9 an hour by 2020
Sir Charles, who received £1.5million last year, said:
‘You can only afford to pay someone more if the value of their contribution is better. What was OK at £7.20 an hour is not OK at £9.20 an hour.’
This triggered a furious response from Labour MP Joan Ryan who has urged the chancellor to take action against firms which have stripped away benefits since the living wage was introduced,
Ms Ryan said: ‘This is very worrying and completely unacceptable. I fear it is just the thin end of the wedge – we’ve already seen a number of firms cutting perks after the introduction of the living wage.
John Lewis and Waitrose have always enjoyed a high degree of confidence among the public because of the way they treat staff.
This move will not reflect well on them.’
Waitrose has already been accused of cutting perks for staff to help pay for the national living wage, after stopped paying Sunday and overtime rates for new workers.
But it has denied this has anything to do with the living wage.
The prospect that their benefits may be under threat will unnerve John Lewis employees who have seen their bonus cut for three consecutive years as profits have fallen.
Sir Charlie Mayfield has infuriated eurosceptics by warning that quitting the EU could damage the business, and lead to further cuts to the bonus. 

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Posted on May 26, 2016, in #retail, #uk, Other. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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