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B&Q Blame Living Wage For Cuts

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

GMB Comment On Reports That B&Q Are Using National Living Wage Implementation As ‘Excuse’ To Cut Pay And Benefits

National Living Wage will be of small comfort to members and their families if employers seek to undermine it by making changes such as these says GMB.

GMB commented on a report that B&Q are using National Living Wage implementation as an excuse to cut overtime pay and employee benefits. The report comes from a petition drafted by a B&Q employee that has so far attracted more than 134,000 signatures. (See notes to editors for a link to the petition).

In the petition, B&Q employee Kevin Smith claimed employees were threatened with termination unless they agreed to sign a contract with the following changes to their terms of employment:

  • Removal of time and a half pay for working Sundays,
  • Restructuring of allowances for working in high cost of living areas of the UK
  • Removal of double time for working bank holidays (now proposed to be 1.5)
  • Removal of a summer and winter bonus equating to 6% of annual salary

The new living wage came into effect on Friday 1st April 2016, and will mean UK employees aged 25 and over will be paid a minimum hourly rate of £7.20.

Michael Ainsley, GMB regional organiser, said “Clearly we welcome the new National Living Wage however it will be of small comfort to members and their families if employers are actively seeking to undermine it by making changes such as these which in many cases actually make employees worse off. GMB members have reported that the changes will cost them between £800 and £1500 year.

I have written to the chief executive officer of B&Q, Michael Loeve, complaining about the scandalous treatment of low paid, hardworking people, but so far I have had no response. Allegedly, B&Q have been consulting with staff about their proposed changes which brings into sharp focus the inadequacy of staff forums and that only by being a member of a recognised trade union do employees  have the power to really negotiate.”


Contact: Michael Ainsley on 07974 250947 or GMB press office on 07739 182691 or 07970 863411

Notes to editors

1 Link to petition of B&Q CEO Michael Loeve:


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