STAFF at high street giant John Lewis have spoken of their disgust after bosses docked the wages of those unable to make it to work due to severe weather.
Earlier this month, both the Scottish Government and Police Scotland told the public to avoid travel unless the journey was absolutely essential, with a red weather warning – the highest possible rating with a “likely” risk to life – in place across Edinburgh and the Lothians.
But despite being rated by employees as the best retailer to work for in the UK, John Lewis is among top retailers who decided to slash the pay of staff who did not show for work on March 1 and 2.
The Leith Street store opened from just 11am-2pm on Thursday and from 10am-4pm on Friday - 11 hours short of their usual trading hours.
One employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Evening News: “We were all told that we had to make up the time, take a holiday or have it unpaid. Top level management said you choose to live where you live so that’s your problem. It is a shocking way to treat your staff. The morale here is so low at the moment.”
John Lewis confirmed staff will get paid their usual contractual hours for the time the shop was closed. However, in line with company policy, staff members may choose to take holiday, unpaid leave or to make up the time at a later date if they were unable to get into work.
A John Lewis spokesman said: ‘The safety of our Partners is our absolute priority, and we only open our shops when it is safe to do so. In circumstances of adverse weather, we follow our travel disruption policy which is the policy that was adhered to on this occasion.”
Meanwhile, some staff members at Poundworld were shocked to find their pay had been cut despite the store being closed to the public on March 1.
One staff member told the Evening News: “It’s disgusting considering that this is a one-off incident. The store was not even open because of the snow but we found out afterwards they wanted people to come in and stack shelves.”
A Poundworld spokesperson, said: “We’re working hard to ensure that all colleagues are paid for their contracted hours for last week.”
It comes after angry Marks & Spencer staff hit out at their employer for being punished by listening to police advice on March 1 during the treacherous weather.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a “Fair Work” charter will be developed with the Scottish Trades Union Congress in a bid to stop staff being forced to travel to work in severe weather.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “There is a need for greater clarity around employer responsibility and workers’ rights where workers are unable to travel to work through no fault of their own.”
Lothian MSP Gordon Lindhurst added: “I would urge all employers to do the decent thing and pay staff who could not attend work. Although the legal position between employees and employers vary on matters such as this, I would be happy to look into individual cases in my role as a local MSP to see how concerns can be addressed.”