Marks & Spencer’s employees have continued to ramp up the pressure on the company to scrap the proposed pay cuts.
70,000 employees have signed a petition calling for the upmarket grocer to abandon its plans to cut pay in light of the national living wage, a significant number considering it employs 69,000 store staff.
The petition will be delivered to the Marble Arch flagship store tomorrow at 1pm, and was set up by Kate Simpson following a career spanning over 40 years with M&S.
Simpson said the cuts would see over 11,000 people lose up to £6000 a year.
The plan will see rates for “unsocial hours” cut, meaning Sundays and bank holidays are payed at the standard rate.
There are also plans to increase the base rate for qualified customer assistants to £8.50 an hour outside London and £9.65 for those in Greater London from next April, as well as introduce a standard rate for shifts between 10pm and 6am, at £3 extra an hour for customer assistants.
"I had a very charmed career, I got to do lots of interesting jobs and it offered privileges, but my love affair with M&S is finished now,” said Simpson, who began working for the grocer when she was 18.
"When our manager made the announcement I felt like a bucket of cold water had been thrown in my face.
"Believe me, anybody who is standing on the till or working on the shop floor is feeling very despondent at the moment. They can't believe a company they have given their life's service to is taking a decision that will result in dramatic changes to lives and financial loss."
A spokesman for M&S said: "We believe our proposed new approach to pay and pensions would reward our people in a fair and consistent way, simplify and modernise our business and help us attract and retain the best talent so we can continue to provide great service for our customers.
"The proposals include one of the highest pay rates and one of the best benefit packages in UK retail."