As of 1st April, all Waterstones booksellers will receive a 6.2% pay rise that will reflect the UK government’s national living wage increase. Set to go into effect on the first day of April, for those over 25, the national living wage will inflate by 6.2%, going from £8.21 to £8.72. Waterstones booksellers will be pleased to learn that those who are above the national living wage will receive the 6.2% increase in pay.
The bands set to receive the increase are Booksellers, Senior Booksellers, Lead Booksellers and Expert Booksellers. Everyone will get the wage increase, including entry level employees, and there will be rewards for more experienced booksellers.
As The Bookseller reports, Waterstones has come under pressure to give its booksellers a pay rise, following reports that the book giant made a profit of £22.7 million in 2019, a 39% increase from the previous year. Chief operating officer, Kate Skipper, sent a letter to staff which reads: “As we approach the end of our financial year, it seems a good opportunity to pause to reflect and to say thank you. In a year of economic and political turmoil, accompanied by a barrage of catastrophic retail headlines, it is worth taking a moment to celebrate that our like- for-like sales continue to grow and our bookshops continue to improve. To fight against the retail tide so successfully is only achieved with effort and bookselling talent.
“We are therefore very pleased to confirm that to accompany the National Living Wage increase due in April, we will be paying a 6.2% increase to each of the bookselling bands, all of which will be effective from 1st April. Exceptions to this increase include employees whose pay is governed by historic contractual arrangements (both in the UK and in our shops outside the UK), and may not apply also to any employee paid above the national living wage who is subject to disciplinary or performance sanction.
“Once again, we have chosen to reward all bookselling bands rather than simply to raise the minimum, so that our most experienced booksellers benefit as much as a new starter. Salaries for bookshop managers and support roles will be reviewed in the autumn, following the same performance review cycle as this year. To take another step forward towards our goal to deliver rewarding bookselling careers is pleasing, particularly in such a hostile economic environment and we do so with thanks to you all.”
Despite the pay rise, campaigners for the real living wage, which is seen as different from the national living wage, sent almost a thousand emails to Waterstones’ managing director James Daunt, urging him to make Waterstones pay booksellers the real living wage, which is calculated on what people need to live well.