Dame Sharon White warns John Lewis staff over scrapping bonuses
The head of John Lewis has warned its staff they may not receive their annual bonus this year.
Sharon White, chair of the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), said the cost of living crisis could affect workers’ pay packets.
The partnership, which operates John Lewis stores and Waitrose supermarkets, is owned by a trust on behalf of all its employees.
Some 80,000 workers, or partners, are paid a bonus, or a share of the profit, on an annual basis.
But White said they may not receive it this year because of rising inflation and the soaring cost of goods.
During a speech at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in Birmingham on Monday, she was asked if the JLP would be able to pay its partners a bonus this year.
“It is going to be tough, and I think our partners know it is going to be tough,” she replied.
Many of us are facing some big choices. Retail is not a high wage sector. You have got to weigh up those costs with the business being financially healthy.”
White said there were signs that John Lewis and Waitrose customers were spending less in the run-up to Christmas than usual.
“For us, inflation is hitting the top line. Customers are more thoughtful about what they are spending, and we are very conscious of our employees.”
The partnership bonus was halted in 2020 for the first time in almost 70 years because of the coronavirus pandemic. It returned last year, with staff being handed a 3% bonus, the equivalent of one-and-a-half week’s pay.
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