Marks & Spencer sacks whistleblower

Marks & Spencer has sacked a long-serving employee for leaking the retailer’s plans to slash redundancy payouts.

The worker, who is represented by the GMB Union, was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct, shortly after attending a disciplinary hearing for blowing the whistle on the retailer’s proposals to reduce redundancy payouts by up to 25% to the media in August. At the time the worker, who had been with Marks & Spencer for 25 years, was suspended on full pay until a decision was made on the severity of disciplinary action to be taken.†

GMB have now said they will be appealing against the verdict of the hearing which concluded today.

Maria Ludkin, GMB legal officer, said: “Make no mistake this is a gross act of corporate bullying. GMB will be appealing against this decision in the internal procedures and will launch a public campaign to secure justice for this M&S worker inside and outside the company.”

Under the new redundancy package, which became effective at the beginning of the month, the maximum payout employees can receive in relation to their length of service will be slashed from 70 weeks to 52 weeks. For example, all staff members aged over 41 years will receive three weeks’ pay for every year worked instead of the 3.75 weeks they receive at the moment.

This means a typical employee aged 49 years with 30 years’ service will be paid £26,000 instead of £35,000, while a typical 41-year-old employee that has worked with the retailer for five years would be paid £7,500 instead of £9,375.

Marks & Spencer confirmed the cuts to its redundancy package but were unable to comment on the hearing due to “legal constraints.”

See also: 19 August 2008 – Marks & Spencer plans to cut redundancy benefits