Waterstones says it can’t pay living wage, as 1,300 authors support staff appeal

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Managing director says book chain ‘simply not profitable enough’, as Sally Rooney, Val McDermid and other authors write to protest

More than 1,300 writers including Kerry Hudson, David Nicholls, Sally Rooney, Michael Rosen and Val McDermid have backed a campaign for Waterstones booksellers to be paid the living wage.

The support follows a petition from staff at Waterstones, signed by more than 6,000 people, which calls on the book chain’s managing director, James Daunt, to pay booksellers a starting living wage of £9 an hour, or £10.55 for the Greater London area. “Working for a rate of pay that is below the living wage results in booksellers who are stressed, preoccupied and who have little spare time and energy to devote to buying books, reading them, and keeping up with news and trends in the industry – all of which activities are undertaken outside contracted hours, and which many staff consider to be (and are encouraged to view as) integral to their role,” says the petition.

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