Commentators have criticised Halfords over the number of staff it has on the minimum wage.
Halfords’ candid CEO Matt Davies recently told the press he was “not proud” of the current wage situation: “I would love to wave a magic wand and put everyone on the living wage but the reality is we cannot do everything at once.”
Davies set out a vision that half of Halfords employees would earn over 8% more than the minimum wage by March 2015, then 80% by 2016 – thanks to an internal advanced cycle maintenance training course ‘Gear Three’. Those completing the course would earn the ‘living wage‘ of £7.85 an hour.
The current national minimum wage is £6.50 for 21 and over (£5.13 for 18 to 20 year olds, and £3.79 for under 18s).
However, critics have called out the firm – probably the UK bike trade’s biggest employer – on the vision it has set out.
Andrew Clark of The Times pointed out: "His promise was pretty paltry. Only two people in each Halfords store, amounting to barely ten per cent, do the advanced "Gear Three" module. More than half the chain’s employees will remain marooned on the minimum wage and 90 per cent will be below the living wage."
The Guardian also pointed out: "Only two people in every store, about 8% of the total, would be earning the living wage laid down by workers rights groups, by 2016."
So far other chain stores in the bike trade have avoided the kind of scrutiny that Halfords undergoes, but as interest in the market develops it seems reasonable to expect the press to pay more attention to rival chain stores and how many of their staff are on the minimum wage.