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John Lewis’ staff threaten strike as tensions rise over job cuts

Chloe Burney
12 February 2024

John Lewis’ looming job cuts bring worker tensions to a boil. Now, bosses have been threatened with a staff walkout as employees demand answers to mass job cuts and sliced payouts.

Last month, John Lewis staff learned about plans to slash up to 11,000 role through the media. The retailer confirmed plans to further slash its workforce over the next five years, just days after it warned of reduced redundancy payouts and pay cuts as part of its complete overhaul.

The partnership, which owns John Lewis and Waitrose, has now been told it must meet with union bosses to avoid a strike over unanswered questions, according to The Telegraph.

In a letter to John Lewis' Chairman, Dame Sharon White, GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said: "As the union that represents John Lewis workers, we call on you to meet urgently with us to discuss these changes and to give your workforce the meaningful representation they clearly need.

"If workers do not get the answers they feel they deserve, they will not hesitate to request that GMB begins a ballot of workers."

Around 250 John Lewis Partnership workers are reportedly members of the GMB union. Workers are set to be asked whether they would be prepared to take industrial action over the issue to help the union plan how to progress the matter.

A spokesman for John Lewis said: "We’ve just received the letter and will reply to the GMB."

The company employs over 76,000 workers who are expected to be affected by changes. Out of £10.5 billion in revenues, for its last full year, John Lewis spent £1.8 billion on staff. Therefore, pay is one of John Lewis’s largest costs.

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