Waitrose counters G33

Source: The Grocer/Mark Thomas

The pay rise is equivalent to more than 10%, equivalent to Waitrose’s highest ever

Waitrose partners are set to receive a 10% pay rise after the John Lewis Partnership confirmed plans to make a record investment in pay.

From 1 April, hourly minimum pay for Waitrose and John Lewis workers will rise to £11.55 (from £10.50) nationwide, and up to £12.89 (from £11.72) in London.

The £116m investment, first reported by Retail Week, was the “highest ever increase” for JLP, a spokeswoman confirmed. The rise is equivalent to more than 10%, compared with an average annual increase of 3.3%, she said. 

JLP also offers a 20% staff discount, among other perks. However, consecutive years of losses mean partners have not been paid their partnership bonus for the past two years. 

The payrise comes as senior partners look to quell what has been growing discontent from some areas of the partnership in response to cost-cutting plans. It was set to be announced during the partnership’s 2023 annual results, which are published next week. 

Outgoing chairman Sharon White and CEO Nish Kankiwala want to shave £900m from the business by 2028 after two years of consecutive losses, and plan to reduce headcount by what could be up to 11,000 roles across both Waitrose and John Lewis over the next five years.

The partnership has insisted many of the roles will be reduced through natural attrition. However, there will be some redundancies as a result of the programme, which aims to invest in technology and simplify team structures.

However, senior partners have been criticised by unions and partners over the timing of a wider shake-up of working agreements, which cut the total amount of redundancy pay some partners could receive in half.

Separately, Waitrose has been consulting with store staff about redistributing how many, and where, hours are spent in store, as part of its Simpler Shops store modernisation plan. The partnership has previously confirmed to The Grocer that a small number of partners had left the business as a result.

The programme has also focused on improving availability in stores and improving the layout as well as checkout experience for customers.