GMB challenges M&S boss to try living on £45.50 per week

M&S Swindon workers challenge Marc Bolland, who got big bonus yesterday, to try living on the £45.50 he pays them for a week to find out what it’s like to get a text in the morning telling them they have no work that day says GMB

GMB, the union for staff at Marks & Spencer (M&S) Distribution depot in Swindon, commented on the Board awarding a £2.1 million bonus to chief executive Marc Bolland, £1.4m to Steve Rowe head of food, £1.1 m to John Dixon clothes boss and £1.04 to another manager Laura Wade-Gery on the back of sales rising 0.4% in a year.

Last month GMB commenced legal proceedings for 240 members employed by an agency at the Swindon Distribution on £6.50 per hour minimum wage compared with direct staff paid up to £2 per hour higher. Under the Agency Workers Directive this is illegal after 12 weeks. GMB’s claim is that M&S is improperly using a loophole in the law, known as the Swedish Derogation and that this should cease. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release dated 29th May.

Carole Vallelly, GMB Regional Organiser, said “Marc Bolland has been handed this enormous bonus due to an increase of the profits from Marks and Spencer, a Company that trades on its Ethical stance.

These profits have been earned of the backs of workers in their supply chain who work on precarious contracts for minimum wages, and never know from one week to another if they will be able to pay their rent or feed their children. They get a text in the morning telling them they have no work that day, or come in to work only to be sent home after 2 hours. Workers at their distribution centre in Swindon are only guaranteed 7 hours work a week on minimum wage -a total of £45.50. This is how Marks and Spencer have made these profits, by using exploitative, precarious contracts and unethical treatment of workers in their supply chain.

We challenge Marc Bolland to try living, just for one week, on the £45.50 he expects these distribution workers to live on. Take up this challenge, and find out what its like to work in your supply chain.”

Andy Newman, GMB Branch Secretary, added “There could be no stronger illustration of how M&S behave like sharks while hypocritically pretending to be angels, than the huge bonus paid to their chief executive, Mr Bolland and other managers when M&S’s profits have been boosted by the unethical exploitation of agency workers at their Swindon distribution centre.

Hundreds of agency staff are paid on minimum wage, and guaranteed only 7 hours per week, and have the indignity of anxiously waiting every day to see whether they get a text message indicating whether they are needed for work, or whether they will lose a day’s pay. The agency workers are paid up to £2 per hour less than other staff doing exactly the same work.

GMB has launched 240 Employment Tribunal claims, as we believe that the contracts are not only unethical but also unlawful. M&S cannot wash their hands of moral responsibility here, as M&S’s own “Global Sourcing Guidelines” indicate that they not only supervise their supply and distribution contractors, but also states that M&S must pre-approve all sub-contracting.

At the Swindon M&S distribution centre, hundreds of vulnerable and low paid workers have been exploited for years through unethical subcontracting to employment agencies, and M&S should have known. GMB calls on them to conduct a full investigation, and to address the injustice.”

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