Saturday, June 19, 2021

M&S faces pay row with staff as it ramps up plans to increase sales

Marks & Spencer has landed in hot water over a pay row with staff less than a week after it posted an 8.9 per cent plunge in clothing sales in the first quarter of its financial year.

At yesterday’s annual general meeting in Wembley Stadium, chief executive Steve Rowe told shareholders that the retailer faced “tough decisions” in the months ahead.

According to City A.M, M&S is considering the removal of Sunday premium pay, reduction of pension contributions, and cuts to the pay for bank holidays and for anti-social hours.

The high street retail icon is reportedly consulting with staff on these, but documents obtained by City A.M indicate staff could face dismissal if they did not accept the changes.

The changes could affect around 7000 employees, but the reduction in pension contributions would affect 11,000.

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On the other hand, M&S said basic pay could increase by 15 per cent from next April to £8.50 per hour, handing hourly pay rises to around 62,000 shopfloor employees.

“We have been contacted by many of our members in Marks and Spencer who are very concerned about the proposed big changes in their pay and pension, along with the threat of Autumn store closures,” said David Gill, the national officer for shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw. 

“Particularly as the company are threatening to sack any staff who do not accept the contractual changes.”

Rowe told the AGM the proposed pay changes could deliver “some of the highest wages in retail” and insisted the pension scheme would still be “generous” despite the cuts.

“We will have further complex decisions to make as we go forward but they will always be taken to give M&S a long term approach,” he said.

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