Waterstones booksellers will be given a 6.2% pay rise from 1st April.
The rise accompanies the government's national living wage increase due in April, which will see the national living wage (for those over 25) increase 6.2% from £8.21 to £8.72. The Waterstones increase goes slightly further with booksellers above the national living wage also being given a 6.2% rise.
The increase applies to each of the firm's bookselling bands—Bookseller, Senior Bookseller, Lead Bookseller and Expert Bookseller—reflecting the upcoming national living wage increase for entry-level booksellers and rewards more experienced booksellers throughout the ranks.
Waterstones recorded a profit of £22.7m last year, up 39% on 2018, as pretax profit rose by 33% to £26.5m, in its most recent accounts and has come under pressure from campaigners to give booksellers a pay rise.
In a letter to staff, chief operating officer Kate Skipper said: "As we approach the end of our financial year, it seems a good opportunity to pause to reflect and to say thank you. In a year of economic and political turmoil, accompanied by a barrage of catastrophic retail headlines, it is worth taking a moment to celebrate that our like- for-like sales continue to grow and our bookshops continue to improve. To fight against the retail tide so successfully is only achieved with effort and bookselling talent.
"We are therefore very pleased to confirm that to accompany the National Living Wage increase due in April, we will be paying a 6.2% increase to each of the bookselling bands, all of which will be effective from 1st April. Exceptions to this increase include employees whose pay is governed by historic contractual arrangements (both in the UK and in our shops outside the UK), and may not apply also to any employee paid above the national living wage who is subject to disciplinary or performance sanction.
"Once again, we have chosen to reward all bookselling bands rather than simply to raise the minimum, so that our most experienced booksellers benefit as much as a new starter. Salaries for bookshop managers and support roles will be reviewed in the autumn, following the same performance review cycle as this year. To take another step forward towards our goal to deliver rewarding bookselling careers is pleasing, particularly in such a hostile economic environment and we do so with thanks to you all."
The rise comes after a 4.85% rise in April 2019, with an additional 4% bonus paid in 2019, with booksellers also awarded a 4.40% rise in April 2018 and a 4.17% rise in April 2017.
Earlier this week campaigners for the real living wage, which is different from the national living wage, sent nearly 1,000 emails directly to James Daunt urging the Waterstones m.d. to pay booksellers the real living wage, which is independently-calculated based on what people need to get by.