Marks and Spencer lobbied by MPs over planned pay changes

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer (M&S) will today (Thursday 1 September) be lobbied by members of Parliament (MPs), campaigners and activists against proposed changes to pay.

Its proposed changes include removing premiums for working Sundays and anti-social hours, and reducing bank holiday payments. Under the proposed plans, bank holiday payments will be at a single, standard premium rate and one time window for unsociable hours.

According to the retailer, these changes will enable it to increase base pay for its customer assistants from next April, seeing staff earn £8.50 an hour instead of £7.41 an hour for areas outside of London, with employees in Greater London due to see pay rise to £9.65 an hour. Section co-ordinators and section managers will also see pay increases from April 2017.

M&S launched a consultation on the proposals with in-house staff representatives on 25 May 2016.

In addition, the organisation has also proposed closing its defined benefit pension scheme to future accrual, instead enrolling employees in to its defined contribution plan.

Today’s demonstration, which is led Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, Siobhain McDonagh, is based on a petition against the planned changes, which gained almost 90,000 signatures.

They will present the petition at Marks and Spencer’s Marble Arch store in London, with McDonagh joined by Labour MPs John Spellar, Carolyn Harris, Karen Buck and Nia Griffith.

McDonagh originally raised the issue in Parliament in June, calling on government to close loopholes that allowed organisations to change staff benefits in order to offset the impact of introducing the national living wage of £7.20 an hour in April.

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A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer 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, which are subject to consultation with our employees, include one of the highest pay rates and one of the best benefits packages in UK retail.”