The petition said: "In early February 2016, after the Government announced that the minimum wage would be increased to a new ‘national living wage’, B&Q ran a consultation of its pay and rewards framework. They proposed the following changes:
- removal of time and a half pay for working Sundays,
- restructuring of allowances for working in high cost of living areas of the UK
- removal of double time for working bank holidays (now proposed to be 1.5)
- Removal of a summer and winter bonus equating to six per cent of annual salary
"The full time customer advisors are being hit the hardest. Those who have worked within the business for over a decade and know our customers and our business the best are losing thousands of pounds a year. B&Q are asking people to sign their new terms and conditions of employment or they will be dismissed.
"As a manager it has been incredibly difficult conducting consultations with people that are set to lose thousands of pounds and telling them that if they don’t sign by March 24th they will lose their job.
"Big businesses like B&Q are using the national living wage as an excuse to cut overall pay and rewards for the people that need it the most. I feel ashamed to work for a business that treats their employees with so little respect. I feel ashamed to work for a business that proposes to pay neighbouring stores two separate rates of pay. I hope that there are others out there that feel the same and support this petition.
"I hope that with the support of others, through signing this petition, we can influence B&Q and other businesses to reverse these changes. I also hope they acknowledge that treating people in this way will have a negative impact on their business in the future."
A B&Q spokesperson said: "We understand and are sorry that a small number of our colleagues feel upset. Our aim is to reward all of our people fairly so that employees who are doing the same job receive the same pay. That isn’t the case at the moment as some have been benefitting from allowances for a long time when others have not and that can’t continue. Over 12 months ago, long before the NLW announcement, we commenced a review of our Pay & Reward framework introduced in 2004, and these changes reflect that review.
"B&Q is committed to being a good payer and our overall package is one of the best in retail, with benefits that include a performance bonus, market-leading pension scheme with up to 14 per cent employer contribution, a ShareSave scheme and five weeks holiday a year. Overall, we will be paying more this year than we did last year.
"From 1 April 2016 our minimum rate will be £7.66 per hour (£15,524.48 pa) which is 46p more than the National Living Wage of £7.20per hour. This will be our minimum rate for all employees, regardless of age, not just those 25 years and over who are covered by the National Living Wage. As a result, 90% of our Customer Advisors will get an increase in their basic salary on 1 April 2016.
"The majority of our employees will be unaffected or better off as a result of the changes to our Pay and Reward framework, and no one’s basic pay will be reduced. Some people are on a basic rate that is higher than our new minimum - £7.66 per hour - and they will continue to be paid at that rate until the our minimum rate catches up. Additionally, we are paying compensation equivalent to 12 months’ worth of any reduction in overall pay.
"We want all of our people to stay with us and be part of the B&Q team and have consulted extensively, listened to the feedback and changed some elements of our original proposal."