Staff at John Lewis have launched a campaign via the Organise platform urging the retailer to improve their wages.
A number of employees claim they receive less than the voluntary Living Wage (recommended by the Living Wage Foundation), which is £9.50 outside London and £10.85 in the capital.
The workers have shared letters describing financial difficulties on the Organise website, which allows employees to start petitions and coordinate action if they feel they are being unfairly treated by an employer.
Almost 30,000 people have already signed the John Lewis petition, which claims that one in five staff do not receive the Living Wage.
The petition claims: “The John Lewis Partnership prides itself (and sells itself) on being employee-owned, which is supposed to make it a fairer, more ethical business.
“There’s nothing fair or ethical about paying your employees less than a living wage. The Partnership must change this and pay all Partners what we deserve.”
John Lewis has responded by saying the hourly rate for all non-management partners is £10.32, above the “real living wage” for anyone outside London.
A spokesperson confirmed that the company’s minimum rates of pay are on average 15% higher than the government-mandated minimum wage, which is £8.91 for employees aged 23 and above.
John Lewis Partnership was one of 191 organisations named by the government last month as having been in breach of minimum wage legislation.
The retailer is cutting around 4,000 roles this year as part of a restructure in response to the Covid pandemic, and also declined to give partners its annual bonus for the first time in more than 60 years.