// M&S is expected to announce job cuts this week
// CEO Steve Rowe is working towards restructuring the business
// M&S employs 78,000 people across the UK
Marks & Spencer will reportedly confirm plans for hundreds of job cuts this week as it becomes the latest retailer to make changes to its workforce as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
M&S will begin announcing redundancy plans within days, joining the likes of the John Lewis Partnership, Boots, Harvey Nichols and Debenhams.
As M&S chief executive Steve Rowe works towards restructuring the business, several thousand jobs are at risk of being axed, Sky News reported.
In the initial phase to be announced this week, M&S will confirm the first substantive cuts to its workforce since it closed the majority of its stores in late March due to lockdown.
M&S had furloughed 27,000 of its 78,000 employees under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to discourage companies from laying off workers.
Thousands of them have returned to work, although the company has not provided a precise number.
M&S has also yet to confirm whether it will reject the chancellor’s recent offer of a £1000 bonus for every furloughed employee who resumes working.
British fast fashion chain Primark recently rejected the offer, saying it “shouldn’t be necessary” for it to take advantage of the scheme introduced by Rishi Sunak, while John Lewis said it is not expected to collect any money from the Treasury’s job retention bonus.
The scheme is expected to cost the Treasury around £8 billion, with the government paying out for the return to work of many of the 9.4 million UK workers who were furloughed because of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, M&S chairman Archie Norman asked shareholders at its AGM that they should vote remotely on their confidence in the company’s future at the beginning and end of the summit, and saw a slight increase in optimism by the time it finished.
The proposed redundancies could apply pressure on Rowe to take at least a temporary cut to his own salary, as many other retail leaders have done during the pandemic.
The chief did agree to a pay freeze, and subsequently confirmed he would not take an annual bonus for either last or this financial year.