Planned strike action at Harrods has been averted after the luxury department chain offered its restaurant staff a pay rise amid an ongoing pay dispute.
Its offer to take the pay above the London Living Wage came days into a ballot for strike action, organised by United Voices of the World (UVW), which could have seen workers walk out over the busy Christmas period.
The latest pay rise will see restaurant workers’ pay increase from £9.19 to £11.50 an hour, with chefs now earning upwards of £12.50. For some restaurant workers this pay rise is equivalent to around £5,000 extra a year.
In addition, some workers will receive pay rises of 25%, with annual increases of 3% also guaranteed from 2023 onwards.
Before UVW began this dispute, Harrods had been paying restaurant workers wages of around £9 an hour.
Mihaly, restaurant worker at Harrods and UVW member, said: “After weeks of organising with our union UVW, we are delighted that our bosses have engaged with us and recognised our hard work. We will be getting the pay rise we have fought for and that we deserve – good news for us and workers beyond.”
Petros Elia, general secretary for UVW, added: “This is yet another example of migrant workers spearheading the fightback against low pay in the UK for all workers. We’re proud to set a new benchmark for the sector, a sector notorious for poverty pay and appalling conditions.
“This is affirmation of the power of organised and strike-ready workers, this remains the biggest and most powerful tool in workers’ arsenal today. The fight does not stop here, we are now talking with retail staff to ensure they are not left behind. We’ve been saying it’s time for £12 and now that time has arrived.”
In an updated statement to Retail Sector, Harrods said: “At Harrods, we are consistently reviewing our pay policies to ensure we continue to attract and retain the best talent. It has been an extremely difficult 18 months for the restaurant industry, throughout which our number one priority has been the wellbeing and welfare of our colleagues.
“For the last three months, we have been undertaking reviews to ensure that our restaurant colleagues’ salaries are in line with industry benchmarks, on top of receiving a generous overtime and benefits package, as well as 100% service charge (minus a minor admin fee).”
It added: “Following this internal review, we are very pleased to have introduced salary uplifts across the majority of our restaurants division, ensuring all our restaurant colleagues are receiving highly competitive salaries against industry benchmarks.
“This has been entirely driven by ongoing discussions and work internally with our restaurant colleagues, and at no point during this three month process have we engaged with a third party. Any suggestion to the contrary is wholly inaccurate.”