Open letter to James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones
We are a group of authors and writers writing in support of the Waterstones staff petition, set up by a Waterstones Bookseller, requesting that Waterstones pay a living wage to Booksellers. Stating: 'Pay all your Booksellers a starting Living Wage of £9, or £10.55 for the Greater London area, will have a positive impact on the lives of Booksellers, their performance in the role, and the success of the bookselling industry.
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.'
As authors we recognise the vital role Booksellers play in our literary culture and industry. Their skill, expertise and passion are a true asset and this deserves to be acknowledged both through public recognition and financial remuneration. We also recognise the huge amount of work and stress that goes into being the frontline to Waterstones business. We hope you will consider offering your Booksellers the financial recognition deserving of their skill, passion, expertise and hard work.
Authors, publishers and everyone else in the industry is indebted to their support sharing and selling our books. It is in everyone’s interest that Booksellers across the country are, as stated in the petition, ‘healthy, well-read, intelligent and insightful, and who have the time, energy and commitment to keep bookshops alive and thriving.’
Finally, it has been brought to our attention that there is anxiety from current staff members about the potential for an increased wage being subsidised by staff redundancies or reduced hours. We wish to make it clear that authors will not support that as an outcome. A business that cannot offer a living wage to staff without redundancies or reducing hours is not a viable business model.
Grateful and concerned authors
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