John Lewis Partnership will increase the minimum wage to £11.55 per hour

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is increasing minimum wages for staff by 10 percent from the beginning of April.

The group, which owns department stores John Lewis and supermarket chain Waitrose, said minimum hourly rates across Britain would rise to £11.55, above the government’s national living wage, which will rise by 9.8 per cent to £ 11.44 per hour.

The partnership rate for London staff will rise to £12.89 pounds. JLP said the pay rises would cost the group £116 million.

Wage increase: John Lewis Partnership will increase minimum staff wages by 10% from early April

It said the budget for pay increases was the “highest increase ever for JLP”.

The Bank of England is keeping a close eye on wage settlements as it assesses the direction of interest rates. It fears that rapid wage growth could create more inflationary pressures across the economy.

There are reports that JLP plans to cut as many as 11,000 jobs over the next five years. The company is considering reducing its 76,000 employees by at least 10 percent.

According to reports, jobs at the group’s headquarters, department stores and supermarkets could be at risk. JLP currently employs approximately 76,000 people.

In January, chairman Dame Sharon White told staff there would be “pretty bold changes” as the company looks to return to profit this year.

Last month, the GMB union said in a letter to White that it could vote for workers to walk out if the chairman did not meet with them urgently. About 250 JLP employees are members of the union.

The union’s national officer, Nadine Houghton, wrote in February: ‘If workers do not get the answers they believe they deserve, they will not hesitate to call on GMB to initiate an employee vote.’

JLP has been struggling for a number of years, posting a £234m loss in its last announced fiscal year, while staff received no bonuses. The group’s turnover fell 2 percent to £12.25 billion as steady sales at the department store chain only partially offset a 3 percent drop in sales at Waitrose.

The retailer has been hit hard by the pandemic and high inflation.

White, who will step down in February 2025 at the end of her five-year term, previously said JLP aims to return to sustainable profits in the 2027/2028 financial year.

However, in January, White said JLP would return to profit this year. In a message to staff in January, White said the employee-owned partnership would be “more than break even.”