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M&S boss fights back in pay freeze row

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Marks & Spencer boss Steve Rowe has said he would not impose a pay freeze upon himself and board members following calls from MPs to do so.

The retailer’s chief executive has said that despite receiving a letter with over 70 signatures encouraging a self-imposed, three-year pay freeze to match recent staff pay changes, he would not commit to the freeze.

Last week Siobhain McDonagh MP, who lead the protest against staff pay changes recently, submitted a letter to Rowe which said: “What the company is telling them is that even if they work longer hours to make up the difference, they will earn no more money in three years’ time than they do today – which is absolutely not fair.”

It posed the question to Rowe whether he would “also guarantee that (he) will earn no more in three years’ time than (he does) today".

RELATED: Marks & Spencer face new battle with MPs

In a letter to the Mail on Sunday Rowe responded by stating that along with other executive directors, he had already agreed not to take a pay rise next year, but would not guarantee a freeze for the next two.

“For those who would see a reduction in total pay as a result... top-up payments will ensure nobody is worse off in the first two years,” he added.

This follows a turbulent few weeks for M&S as the changes to staff pay, which will see higher Sunday and bank-holiday pay reduced to standard rates, but will raise the base rate of pay, continues to cause controversy.

M&S agreed, after recieving a petition with over 90,000 signitures calling for the pay changes to be scrapped, to continue to top up the pay of those missing out until 2019. 

After this it agreed to pay a further 50 per cent of their losses and offer them guaranteed hours to make up the difference, estimated to require roughly 45 minutes extra per week.

It was also announced that it will be cutting 500 jobs from its head office, but it is not known whether these are linked.

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Published on Monday 12 September by Ben Stevens

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