Lifestyle retailer Oliver Bonas has become the first UK high street retailer to pay the living wage.
The business, which has 43 stores in the UK and a head office and warehouse distribution centre in Chessington, Surrey, has committed to pay all of its directly employed staff and third party contractors over the age of 18 at least the voluntary living wage of £7.85 per hour and £9.15 per hour in London.
This is above the government’s compulsary national living wage of £7.20 per hour for over 25s, which will come into effect in April 2016.
Oliver Tress, managing director and founder of Oliver Bonas, said: “We want to do everything we can to pay our team at Oliver Bonas a wage that reflects their hard work and loyalty - and the ‘real’ cost of living. We hope it also encourages more people to come and work with us in the future”.
Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “Major players in the retail sector have for a long time claimed that the living wage is too expensive to implement on the high street. This move by Oliver Bonas demonstrates that whilst it’s not always an easy choice for business to make, it is the right choice, and we hope that both staff and customers will support the leadership they are showing in their commitment to help end the low wage culture of the British high street.”
There are over 1,700 accredited living wage employers across the UK, including Nationwide, Barclays and Nestle, as well as many independent retailers.