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B&Q faces staff backlash over contract changes

B&Q DIY superstore store front

DIY retailer B&Q is facing a backlash from its store staff after announcing alterations to their working conditions and pay. 

Retail Week reported the company will reduce staff hours starting next month.

The firm also plans to increase the hourly pay rate to £11.31 in January as compensation.

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As part of the changes, employees on 39-hour contracts will transition to 36 hours and 45 minutes, factoring in unpaid breaks. 

However, employees have raised concerns that the reduced contracted hours may impact their earnings.

They say it’s because the new national living wage rate of £11.44 is implemented.

Workers argue they’re better off with their existing contracts.

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B&Q, however, dismissed these concerns, asserting that it will further increase pay in April, surpassing the rise in the national living wage. 

A spokesperson for the retailer said: “To bring our approach in line with other large retailers, during the summer we undertook a pilot in two stores to reduce the length of breaks with a higher hourly rate of pay at £11.31.

“Following positive feedback from the pilot, we announced the changes to colleagues nationwide in November, followed by one to one briefings to go through the new framework.

“Our investment of £4m in our new policy, which has been welcomed by the vast majority of colleagues, ensures there is a fair break policy for all and means that no colleague is worse off, allowing colleagues to spend less time at work for the same pay or be at work for the same hours for more pay.

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The company said it’s working with store employees to address any outstanding questions and concerns about the transition.

Additionally, B&Q said it’d increase pay in April 2024 as part of its “usual annual pay review to maintain a competitive rate of pay in the market”.

A spokesperson said: “Next year’s pay award will be significant, recognising the contribution of our colleagues and ensuring we continue to offer one of the most competitive hourly rates of pay in the market, which of course will be well above NLW.”

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