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Waterstones staff campaign for ‘real living wage’

In the UK, staff at bookselling chain Waterstones are campaigning to be paid the ‘real living wage’, reports the Bookseller.

Piccadilly Waterstones bookseller April Newton set up the online petition for Waterstones to pay staff according to The Living Wage Foundation’s ‘real living wage’, which is set at £10.55 (A$19.58) an hour for the Greater London area and £9 (A$16.70) an hour for the rest of the UK.

The UK minimum wage for under 25s currently stands at £7.38 (A$13.70) per hour, while the living wage is set at £7.83 (A$14.53) for over 25s.

So far, almost 6000 supporters have signed the campaign.

‘Booksellers at Waterstones work long hard hours and have incredible knowledge, you are on your feet all day working with something that requires a big intellectual effort and it reflects badly that people on the front line are so undervalued,’ Newton said. ‘The level of response has been incredible and it’s really encouraging to see so many people agree and think it’s the right thing to do.’

Newton and other staff hope to deliver the petition to Waterstones MD James Daunt in the next few weeks.

Daunt told the Bookseller he was aware of the petition, and noted the company’s focus on career progression and higher pay for long-serving staff.

‘We would all like to wave a wand and just pay it and have the same differentials for everyone above it,’ said Daunt. ‘If you’re being fair you bump everyone up proportionately and if we do that, we would find ourselves in considerable straits and the business has come from a deep, dark and horrible place and we are not taking it back there.’


Category: International news