Bunnings, which bought out Homebase from Home Retail Group in a £340m deal last year and opened its first pilot UK store last week, has scrapped zero-hour contracts for its British employees.
UK manager Peter 'PJ' Davis has said that the company has decided to axe zero hour contracts for all its UK employees to ensure a “strong culture within the company,” adding that he wants to “engage them in their work, train them and offer development opportunities.”
The first UK Bunnings store opened last week in St Albans, with at least four more pilot stores outlined for the next few months. Wesfarmers, Bunnings' owner, plans to invest up to £500m rolling out the Bunnings brand across the existing Homebase portfolio over the next three to five years.
Since its takeover last year, Bunnings has introduced a living wage for all its workers over the age of 18, rather than opting for the government's policy of £7.50 per hour for all workers aged 25 and over.
Mr Davis explained, “It’s costing us more but we thought it was a fairer way of distinguishing between staff.” It means that almost all of the 12,000 store employees have had an average pay raise of £555.
Other changes which have taken place at the Homebase/Bunnings enterprise include getting rid of soft furnishing lines in favour of more hardcore DIY and hardware options as well as plans to introduce a more family-friendly atmosphere with in-store cafes and playgrounds.
The company is also planning to run workshops for ladies to help them brush up on essential DIY skills.