Tell Britain's retailers to pay a Living Wage to their staff and bring the magic back to Christmas:







The retail industry is lagging behind. By not paying a Living Wage to their staff, many retail workers are struggling to make ends meet. So this Christmas, let's see if we can get just one of Britain's top 12 shops to take the first step and pay a Living Wage.

Click below to find out more about these 12 retailers, and what we can do to keep the pressure on:

Profit before tax: £239.5m

Chief Executive Dave Forsey’s 2013 pay package: £150,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

Sports Direct scored an own goal on the way it treated its workers, particularly getting into the limelight for its excessive use of zero-hours contracts. We asked the board at the AGM about both this bad practice and the Living Wage. Our questions were answered bluntly by their Founder and Executive Deputy Chairman, Mike Ashley who said that they could make no comment about their staff because of a lawsuit.

Profit before tax: £622.9m

Chief Executive Marc Bolland’s 2013/14 total pay package: £1,587,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

At the AGM, the M&S board was dismissive of the suggestion of a meeting on the Living Wage. M&S does a lot of work on the Living Wage throughout their global supply chain, but we’re staying in touch to see if they’ll provide the Living Wage for their UK staff.

Profit before tax: £2.3bn

Chief Executive Philip Clarke’s total pay package for 2013/14: £1,634,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

We know Tesco’s been hard hit this year. But instead of seeing the Living Wage as part of the solution, they continue to say that they don’t need to comply with the official Living Wage level because of the staff benefits package they provide. We’re keeping the conversation going.

Profits 2013: £695m

Chief Executive Lord Wolfson’s 2013/14 total pay package: £4,646,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

They agreed to a meeting about the Living Wage at their AGM, which they followed through with. But they have made no signs that they’ll move towards the Living Wage. Lord Wolfson’s taken positive steps in the past by donating his bonus to his staff, but doesn’t seem to see the merit of the Living Wage as a long-term and sustained investment in staff.

Profits 2014: £662m

Chief Executive George Weston’s 2014 total pay package: £7,155,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

We asked Associated British Foods, Primark's parent company, for their position on the issue and they let us know that Associated British Foods is currently not accredited as a Living Wage employer in the UK and has no plans to become accredited in the coming year. They explained that: “We believe that the greatest contribution our business makes to society is the employment it offers people and providing our customers with access to good quality, affordable food and clothing.

Associated British Foods is proud to employ many thousands of people in the UK from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. We pride ourselves on giving quality training to our staff, enabling them to develop their professional skills and advance in their career and earning potential.

As far as Primark is concerned the nature of the sector means that a retail position is a first job for many people but those who remain with the business get promoted to higher salaried positions quickly.”

They’ve offered a meeting to discuss this further, which is a step above many of the retailers, and we look forward to discussing and hearing more at their AGM on December 5th!

Profit before partnership bonus and tax: £329m

As John Lewis has no CEO, their Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield’s pay package for 2013 was: £1,520,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

We asked John Lewis for their position on the Living Wage, including for staff who are employed through contractors in their UK stores, like cleaners. They told us that:

Fair pay is one of the core principles of the John Lewis Partnership and we share the Living Wage campaign’s objectives to pay employees fairly. We achieve that, however, through different means. Our policy is to pay the market rate for a job and as much above that as can be justified by performance. On top of that, our Partners receive a share of our profits as well as other benefits such as a final salary pension (after a qualifying period).”

We appreciate their sentiments, but wonder about the Living Wage for cleaners who don’t receive the benefits of being Partners since they’re hired through third-party contractors. John Lewis was in dialogue with Citizens UK on the Living Wage. We’d like to see the Living Wage achieved for everyone who works at John Lewis shops!

Profits: £113m

Chief Executive’s total pay package for 2014 of outgoing Chief Executive Terry Duddy: £1,983,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

Argos’s parent company, the Home Retail Group acknowledges the issue of low pay, but have yet to end it. At their Annual Shareholders meeting, the Chairman, John Coombe, said that Home Retail Group employ about 50,000 people – a substantial number of whom are on the national minimum wage or just above.

The Chair acknowledged low pay as an issue, but stated they would prefer a higher national minimum wage than to adopt the Living Wage themselves. The Board claim to have decided to undertake a review of staff salaries to see what they can do for the employees who are paid the least.

We are happy to have heard back from them with more details of their benefits package and training programmes, as well as their support for the minimum wage. And we’re very pleased that they offered a meeting to continue the discussion.

Profit before tax: £136m Carphone Warehouse, Dixons Retail £166.2m

Sebastian James Group Chief Executive’s 2013 total pay package as CEO of Dixons Retail in 2013: £1,351,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

The Chairman of Carphone Warehouse told us at their AGM that they can't make any commitment on the Living Wage because of their upcoming merger with Dixon’s Retail Curry & PC World, which has since been successfully completed. They said that most staff are on much higher salaries than the minimum wage. We followed up after the merger was complete for an update, but haven’t heard back yet.

2013/14 underlying profit before tax: £759m

Chief Executive Sir Ian Cheshire’s 2013/14 pay package: £ 3,565,500

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

Kingfisher have debated the Living Wage at the highest level, and promised at their AGM to continue to review it. They say they aspire to the aim of the Living Wage, but put the onus on the government to solve low pay. For example, in their AGM they suggested the government could do more to help by varying rates of National Insurance. They also signed a public letter to the government calling for the minimum wage to rise faster. Unfortunately however, when we asked them for their latest position they said they currently have no plans to become a Living Wage employer.

2013/14 underlying profit before tax: £798m

Chief Executive Justin King’s total pay package for 2013/14: £3,945,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

Sainsbury’s CEO agreed to a meeting about the Living Wage at their AGM and followed through. They too say that their benefits package makes up for the low rates of pay so haven’t moved to the Living Wage. We’re continuing to discuss.

Profit before tax: £110.3m

Chief Executive Michael Sharp’s 2013 total pay package: £772,999

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

In their annual report, even Debenhams themselves refers to low wages as the principle problem inhibiting their performance because it’s limiting consumer spending. We’ll see what they say about paying their own staff a Living Wage at their AGM on December 9th!

Underlying profit before tax: £785m

Chief Executive Dalton Philip’s 2013/14 pay package: £1,089,000

Why haven’t they stepped up yet?

Morrison’s like the other retailers and supermarkets in particular, has had a tough year. Also like the other retailers, they stand behind their wider benefits package as a reason for not stepping forward on the Living Wage. We asked Morrison’s for an update on their position on the issue and they let us know that:

We believe that the national minimum wage is an effective tool to address low pay, as opposed to the Living Wage, which does not adequately reflect the wide range of benefits that we offer.

We offer a highly attractive benefits package, which includes one of the best pension schemes in the sector, two store discount cards and a share in company profits. There is also an annual long-service award for qualifying colleagues, which rises over time. In addition, colleagues can choose to benefit from discounts at other retailers through our voluntary benefits platform, an opportunity to participate in the company sharesave scheme, enhanced maternity and paternity packages and a holiday allowance above the statutory minimum, which increases with length of service.

We pay our supermarket sales assistants more than the minimum wage and will continue to review our headline retail rates with our colleagues and unions on an annual basis. As outlined above, our sales assistants (along with other colleagues) can participate in a wide range of benefits, which combined with basic rates of pay, equates to more than the Living Wage.

Morrisons invests heavily in training and we provide our colleagues with clear routes to develop their skills and potentially earn more, for example our skilled specialists like butchers and bakers earn more than the Living Wage. We offer a range of apprenticeships and are proud of the fact that nine out of 10 of our store managers started out on the shop floor.

We thank them for providing this information. We think that these benefits, though appreciated, are no substitute for the Living Wage. We hope to continue to discuss!



This Christmas, ShareAction and Citizens UK are calling on the UK’s biggest retailers, including Primark, to #stopscrooging and pay the Living Wage to all their workers to bring the magic back to Christmas.

Over the past three years, more than 1000 employers, including 19 of the FTSE 100 have committed to provide the Living Wage to all their staff, but retailers have lagged behind. Retail is responsible for 28% of the more than 5 million workers in the UK paid less than a Living Wage. We hope that this Christmas these companies will spread the cheer to all their workers, making it a happy Christmas for everyone in UK retail.

Paying the Living Wage is the right thing to do, but it can also bring long-term business benefits to companies and to the retail sector as a whole through stimulating growth and spending in the UK economy. A wide range of stakeholders from consumers to investors are calling on these companies to step up on the Living Wage.