BEIS Committee calls for WHSmith workers to be paid Living Wage

17 June 2019


Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, has called on WHSmith to commit to paying all workers a fair wage by signing up to the Living Wage Foundation.


In a letter to the BEIS Committee, following his appearance at an evidence session on the future of the post office network, WHSmith Managing Director Carl Cowling confirmed that WHSmith has not been accredited by the Living Wage Foundation but that they offer pay rates which are competitive with other retailers, in what is a very challenging retail environment.


He said that WHSmith start the majority of their store staff on the National Living Wage / National Minimum Wage or at an uplift of roughly 6% in some locations. Alongside this, they offer training and progression to support and encourage employees as they move up through the business, evidenced by several of its executive directors having started on the shop floor.


WHSmith’s 2018 Annual Report shows that the CEO Stephen Clarke received a total remuneration package of £2.9m and the CFO Robert Moorhead £1.8m.


Rachel Reeves MP commented:


“While top executives at WHSmith are being rewarded with handsome packages of pay and perks, some staff are not even deemed worthy of being paid the National Living Wage. Such disparities in remuneration are impossible to justify and WHSmith should pledge to pay all workers fairly and sign up to the National Living Wage Foundation.”