Grantham and Boston workers could be hit by scrapping of premium rates at Downtown and Oldrids

Workers at Downtown and Oldrids in Grantham and Boston are set to lose premium rates of pay for working Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The company says that the current system is unfair because some workers at the company receive premium rates of pay for working Sundays and Bank Holidays while others do not.

The company, which also has stores in Lincoln and Gainsborough, has put the proposal out to consultation and says about half of those who are paid premium rates have agreed to the proposal so far.

A spokesman for Oldrids and Downtown said: “At Oldrids & Downtown our 800 plus employees are our greatest asset. We recognise this with a generous benefits package including staff discount of up to 20 per cent.

“Keen to preserve these benefits and remain an employer of choice, we have considered other ways of helping to pay for the Living Wage. About 150 of our employees receive premium rates of pay for working Sundays and Bank Holidays. These rates were introduced many years ago, when attitudes to Sunday trading were different, and many other retailers have already abolished such rates.

“With this in mind, we are consulting with those employees who receive the premium rates and seeking their agreement for Sundays and Bank Holidays to in future be paid at basic hourly rates.

“The consultation is still ongoing and, although 70 employees have already confirmed their agreement to the proposal, it will only proceed if a suitable alternative cannot be identified.”

But one employee at Downtown in Grantham, who does not wish to be named, said the move was ‘morally wrong’. She said: “Staff have been given the option to sign or receive notice to terminate their employment. Unlike other well-known employers, Oldrids are unwilling and they say unable to pay any form of compensation in order to cushion the blow for these long-serving staff members, leaving many in serious financial difficulties who have worked these hours on a regular basis.

She added: “The living wage has not been put in place for anyone to be worse off. This is morally wrong.”