• Store manager has started a petition appealing changes to pay and benefits
  • Opposition to changes on Sunday and bank holiday pay
  • B&Q will give all staff, including those under 25, a base rate of £7.66

B&Q staff are rallying against changes to pay rates and benefits they claim are being made to counteract the cost of the living wage.

A petition, started by an anonymous store manager, now has more than 73,500 signatures urging B&Q boss Michael Loeve not to use the living wage as an excuse to “cut pay and benefits”.

Retail Week revealed last month that the Kingfisher-owned retailer will increase its minimum basic pay to £7.66 an hour.

However B&Q is removing time-and-a-half pay for Sunday and pay on bank holidays will be standardised at 1.5 times normal pay.

According to the petition, the retailer also intends to remove summer and winter bonuses and restructure allowances for staff in high cost of living areas. 

“B&Q are asking people to sign their new terms and conditions of employment or they will be dismissed,” the petition on the Change.org website alleges. It claims that full-time customer advisers are being “hit the hardest” and are at risk of losing “thousands of pounds a year”. 

A B&Q spokesperson said: “We understand and are sorry that a small number of our colleagues feel upset.

”Our aim is to reward all of our people fairly so that employees who are doing the same job receive the same pay.

“That isn’t the case at the moment as some have been benefitting from allowances for a long time when others have not and that can’t continue.

”Over 12 months ago, long before the national living wage announcement, we commenced a review of our pay and reward framework, and these changes reflect that review.

“B&Q is committed to being a good payer. The majority of our employees will be unaffected or better off as a result of the changes and no one’s basic pay will be reduced.  

“90% of our customer advisors will get an increase in their basic salary on 1 April 2016. Additionally, we are paying compensation equivalent to 12 months’ worth of any reduction in overall pay.

“Overall, we will be paying more this year than we did last year.”

Kingfisher’s head of HR Emily Lawson told Retail Week last week: “We’re restructuring our pay so that everyone is getting what they should be.”

Lawson added that the living wage will go to all employees, “not just the over-25s” as the Government has stipulated.

The Government’s new national minimum rate of £7.20 an hour comes into force this Friday for workers aged over 25.