Burberry has rejected claims it is failing to pay cleaning staff the new London living wage, saying it plans to implement the higher rate by April.
It comes after around 20 cleaning staff employed through contracting firm ISS staged a protest outside the brand’s 44,000 sq ft flagship store on Regent Street on Friday, February 6.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which organised the 48-hour strike, claimed Burberry has failed to pay the increased rate, which rose from £8.50 to £9.15 per hour in November 2014, despite reporting pre-tax profits of £461m for the year to March 31, 2014.
Other claims made by the employees include having to buy their own uniforms, being given unsatisfactory equipment and bullying behaviour by ISS local management.
One sign carried by a protester read: “ISS-Burberry stop. We are not slaves. Pay the living wage. Sack abusive managers.”
However, Burberry said it pays the London Living Wage for all staff whether directly or indirectly employed by the company. “We make all the annual increases to salaries promptly and well within the required timeframe as stipulated by the Living Wage Foundation,” said a spokesman.
Living Wage Foundation director Rhys Moore added: “By implementing the new Living Wage Rate in April, after the announcement in November, Burberry has acted properly and in full accordance with the LWF guidance.”
The London Living Wage is not legally enforced, but it is the suggested hourly rate for those working inside the capital, where costs such as rent are higher.
This month the Low Pay Commission is expected to make its annual recommendation for the legal national minimum wage, currently at £6.50, which the government usually moves to adopt by October the same year.
In its results for the three months to December 31, Burberry posted like-for-like sales of £604m and a total sales increase of 15%.
- This month the Low Pay Commission is expected to make its annual recommendation for the legal national minimum wage, currently at £6.50, which the government usually moves to adopt by October the same year.