Harrods hospitality staff receive 25 percent pay rise following threats of a Christmas strike

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Hospitality staff at London luxury retailer Harrods have secured a 25 percent pay rise, averting a strike they threatened to have over Christmas should their demands not be met.

The union representing chefs and front of house teams working at the Knightsbrige department store, United Voices of the World (UVW), called the deal "a new benchmark for pay in the hospitality sector," with many of its kitchen team now earning £12.50 an hour or more - from just over £9 an hour previously - and some workers poised to earn £5,000 extra in annual pay.

According to The Guardian, some employees negotiated a deal including annual pay rises of 3 percent from 2023.

Though the union - and the dozens of restaurant workers involved in the threats to strike - saw this as a victory in their discussions, as a ballot was put to staff over whether or not to strike over poor pay and excessive workloads - the retailer has denied the claims, and said the increase was unrelated to the strike.

 “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.

“We are consistently reviewing our pay policies to ensure we continue to attract and retain the best talent.”

Last month, after reporting annual losses of £68m in 2020, and with the threat of staff strikes at Christmas a spokesperson for the retailer said: “Alongside the wider hospitality industry, Harrods has faced an extremely difficult 18 months, with long periods of closure that have entirely removed our ability to operate as normal. However, throughout this, our absolute priority has been the welfare of our staff and safeguarding as many jobs as possible.

“We are constantly reviewing our pay policies to ensure they are in line with industry best practice and as well as base salary, Harrods employees receive generous overtime, 100% service charge (minus a minor admin fee) and benefits package.”

A member of staff told the newspaper that “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.”

Meanwhile, Petros Elia, the general secretary of UVW, said: “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 union leader added that the campaign would extend to retail workers, too, " to ensure they are not left behind. We’ve been saying it’s time for £12 and now that time has arrived."

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 8th December 2021

Harrods hospitality staff receive 25 percent pay rise following threats of a Christmas strike