OLIVER BONAS BECOMES FIRST RETAILER TO BRING LIVING WAGE TO UK HIGH STREET
The Living Wage Foundation is delighted to announce that Oliver Bonas, the independent British high-street retailer, has today, 1st September 2015, been accredited as a Living Wage employer.
The growing independent company, which has 43 stores across London and the UK, and a head office and warehouse distribution centre in Chessington, Surrey, has committed to pay all of its directly employed staff, and third party contractors, at least the Living Wage.
The Living Wage is an independently calculated figure based on the cost of living, in the UK the rate is currently £7.85p/h, whilst the London Living Wage is £9.15p/h, reflecting the higher costs of living in the capital. Both rates are paid to employees aged over 18, and are significantly higher than the national minimum wage rate £6.50p/h and go beyond the recently announced minimum wage premium for over 25s which will be £7.20p/h from April 2016.
Rhys Moore, director, Living Wage Foundation said:
We are delighted that Oliver Bonas has accredited as a Living Wage employer. This is a significant milestone for the Living Wage movement and will see the Living Wage become more prominent on high streets across the country. There are over 1,700 accredited Living Wage employers, including SSE, Nationwide, Barclays and Nestle, as well as hundreds of independent small and medium sized businesses. These organisations all recognise that their people deserve a wage they can live on, not simply survive, and that increasingly customers see the Living Wage as a mark of responsible business. Major players in the retail sector have for a long time claimed that the Living Wage is too expensive to implement on the high street. This move by Oliver Bonas demonstrates that whilst it’s not always an easy choice for business to make, it is the right choice, and we hope that both staff and customers will support the leadership they are showing in their commitment to help end the low wage culture of the British high street.
Oliver Tress, Managing Director and Founder of Oliver Bonas said:
We are thrilled that we are now able to pay the Living Wage to all members of our team. We want to do everything we can to pay our team at OB a wage that reflects their hard work and loyalty - and the ‘real’ cost of living. It is exciting to be the first retailer on the High Street to make this commitment. This is a direct result of the hard work of our team, helping us to grow the business at a good, steady pace over the last twenty or so years. We hope it also encourages more people to come and work with us here at Oliver Bonas in the future.
The Living Wage is a growing movement of responsible businesses who voluntarily agree to pay above statutory wage rates. With just 100 accredited employers in 2012, mainly in London, there are now over 1,700 accredited employers across the UK.
A recent poll by Nationwide, an accredited Living Wage employer and principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation, revealed that 87% of the public thought that those businesses that can, should pay the voluntary Living Wage and 58% would be more likely to use the goods and services of a company that paid its employees the Living Wage.