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John Lewis Partnership faces strike threat over job cuts

The John Lewis shop on the High Street in Exeter, Devon in the UK

John Lewis Partnership faces strike threat over job cut plans

The GMB union has warned the John Lewis Partnership about potential strikes if the firm fails to clarify its plans over 11,000 job cuts.

The union has demanded an urgent meeting with Sharon White, the chairwoman of the group that owns Waitrose.

In a letter, the GMB said it’s prepared to start a strike ballot if White does not satisfactorily explain the impending job reductions

Nadine Houghton, a GMB national officer, said: “As the union that represents John Lewis workers, we call on you to meet urgently with us to discuss these changes and to give your workforce the meaningful representation they clearly need.

“If workers do not get the answers they feel they deserve, they will not hesitate to request that GMB begins a ballot of workers.”

It is understood that approximately 250 partners from John Lewis and Waitrose are GMB union members. 

A spokesman for John Lewis told The Telegraph: “We’ve just received the letter and will reply to the GMB.”

The partnership announced plans to cut its 76,000-strong workforce by more than 10 percent over the next five years. 

It aims to reduce its operating costs by £900 million through the restructuring. 

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These cuts would affect employees at the company's central London headquarters and within the John Lewis retail staff.

The GMB recently criticised John Lewis for allegedly discouraging workers from joining trade unions, especially after announcing reduced redundancy payments. 

The John Lewis Partnership operates with a council of staff representatives.

The company said its employees were “free to join a union."

However, it highlighted that “as an employee-owned organisation, we… provide many benefits of a union, without any cost”.

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