Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh is challenging the government to make sure workers do not lose out with the introduction of the new National Living Wage.

The new Living Wage, which came into force on April 1, means that all workers over the age of 25 must be paid at least £7.20 an hour.

However, some bigger companies such as B&Q have been accused of reducing pay elsewhere in order to fund it.

Ms McDonagh, who has launched at Early Day Motion calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that workers’ pay and jobs are protected, says she first became aware of the issue when a friend who works at B&Q realised they would be left £2,600 worse off a year after the Living Wage was implemented.

B&Q have announced they will be all paying staff at least £7.66 an hour. In order to do so they will be cutting time and a half pay for working on a Sunday, reducing bank holiday double time to time and half pay, cutting down on paying more to employees based in London and removing a summer and winter bonus which equates to six per cent of employees annual salary.

However, the company insist that their reward package “remains one of the best in retail”.

Wimbledon Guardian:

B&Q have been criticised for their changes to staff benefits. Photo: Google Maps

Ms McDonagh said: “It seems incredibly unfair. A lot of people are being affected in this way. Lots of companies are doing the same thing.

“For these people who work hard, and who don’t ask for anything but to work hard and try and earn a living, we are hoping to get them able to earn a decent wage.”

She added: “I want to do everything I can to help them.

“I want the government to guarantee that no one will lose money as a result of the National Living Wage. And if there are loop holes, I want the government to close them.”

Ms McDonagh’s Early Day Motion, which is due to be debated in Parliament on Monday, April 18, calls on “employers to make a commitment to ensure that no employee is made worse off or is made redundant as a result of the introduction of the national living wage; and further calls on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to recognise these actions and push employers to protect the wages of their staff.”

A petition started on change.org by an anonymous B&Q employee called “Don’t use living wage as an excuse to cut pay and benefits” has so far gathered almost 135,000 signatures.

A spokeswoman for B&Q said the company is committed to pay everyone, including those under 25, above the National Living Wage, and will be retaining a number of benefits including performance bonuses, a pension with a 14 per cent employer contribution and a ShareSave scheme.

She added that the company will be reviewing and gathering feedback on the decision before April 1, 2017.

The spokeswoman said: “We understand and are sorry that some of our colleagues feel upset by the changes.

“This has been a difficult decision for us and our aim has always been to reward all of our people fairly so that employees who are doing the same job receive the same pay.

“That wasn’t the case as, for a long time, some had been being paid different allowances and that couldn’t continue.

"No one’s base pay is being reduced at all, and we are paying compensation so no one’s bonus or benefits will be reduced in the first twelve months.

"We want all of our people to stay with us and be part of the B&Q team. Because we are changing the terms and conditions of people’s employment they need to have a new contract and we are following a standard process to do so. We have always been transparent with our people about this.

"We are committed to being an employer of choice, to providing colleagues with lots of opportunities to grow their careers, to rewarding colleagues when things are going well and to offering a consistent, fair and competitive salary on all levels.

"Our rewards package remains one of the best in retail and this year, we will be paying more than we did last year.”

To sign the petition, click here.

Have you been affected by the change in National Living Wage? Contact our newsdesk on pippa.allen@london.newsquest.co.uk or 020 8722 6337 and let us know.