John Lewis and Waitrose have always been celebrated as being the best place to work, with a preternatural amount of staff benefits being put their employees way. With great wages, an admirable attitude to sick days and annual leave, we have all thought what it would be like to work for such a high regarded, ethical brand.

However, it seems that their cleaners do not reap such rewards, not included in bonuses or being provided a living wage.

With cleaners being such a vital part of each store’s success we at e Clean are disgusted that John Lewis and Waitrose do not recognise their cleaner’s contribution to the overall success of the brand.

A new petition by illustrates that John Lewis enjoyed the highest market share in the retail sector last Christmas and new year, after which its staff received 14% bonus payments, apart from the cleaners.

With John Lewis put under pressure to provide a ‘living wage’ to their cleaners both campaigners and John Lewis have passed comment on whether or not their cleaners deserve more money.

What the Campaigners have to say

“John Lewis brands itself as a company that is committed to treating its suppliers, customers and partners with fairness, but it has contracted out its cleaning services,” the petition says. “Its cleaners receive less than the living wage and are not entitled to the bonus payments paid to directly employed staff.

“Given John Lewis’s impressive profit levels, it is very troubling that it refuses to show moral leadership and pay its cleaners the living wage.” Says one campaigner.

Straight from the horse’s mouth

Neil Spring, group senior external communications manager at John Lewis Partnership, said: “Fair pay is one of the core principles of the John Lewis Partnership and we share the living wage campaign’s objectives to pay employees fairly. We achieve that, however, through different means. Our policy is to pay the market rate for a job and as much above that as can be justified by performance.

“In relation to cleaning, with a few historical exceptions, the majority of cleaners who work in our branches are, as with almost every organisation, contractors. Most work for more than one employer, often on the same day. Like all retailers, we work with many different contractors of various kinds throughout our supply chain. We could not operate effectively if all our contractors were partners.

“We take our responsibilities to all our suppliers and contractors very seriously. We expect them to uphold good employment standards. However, we don’t believe it’s right for us to insist our suppliers or managing agents adopt pay policies that are different to our own by setting base pay levels well above the market rate.”

What do you think of this story, should John Lewis value their cleaners a little more?