The Bookseller’s Grahame Neill reports that thirty members of Waterstone’s staff have approached a retail trade union over concerns that the chain’s harmonization of terms and conditions will result in a pay freeze. Paul Lee, national officer at the Retail Book Association, said that about 30 Waterstone’s staff have contacted the trade union over fears that the potential unification of Waterstone’s and Ottakar’s staff contracts, could result in staff being worse off in real terms.
“Some of the career booksellers who do not wish to become managers will keep what they have,” he said. “However, they are afraid that their pay will be held at that level. The staff will be entitled to a pay review but not a pay rise . . . therefore their pay could go down in real terms.” One Waterstone’s member of staff said: “A wage freeze has been foisted upon the most senior bookselling staff, some of whom will be on the same pay rate for a number of years.” A Waterstone’s spokesperson denied any such freeze was in effect. The company is budgeting for a pay increase,” she said. “There are a small number of individuals who will not get a pay review because of the wider harmonisation. Everyone will be brought in line with them. We believe these existing rates are very competitive.”