Southern Region

Marks & Spencer

GMB, the union for Marks and Spencer (M&S) distribution workers in Swindon, has held a protest demonstration outside Reading Marks and Spencer store to protest at two tier workforce and work practices at the Swindon depot. This is the first in a series of protest outside M&S stores across the country in support of the M&S Swindon workers.

Earlier this year GMB commenced legal proceedings on behalf of members employed at the Marks and Spencer Distribution Centre in South Marston, Swindon.

Marks and Spencer own this Distribution Centre. They contract the running of the site to logistics company, DHL. They in turn recruit several hundred workers through the recruitment agency, 24-7 Recruitment Services. These workers have an employment contract through yet another company, Tempay Ltd.

DHL took over the contract to run the site in January 2015, which was previously run by another logistics company, Wincanton.

Workers employed by Tempay Ltd are employed on the minimum wage of £6.70 per hour. Directly employed DHL workers doing exactly the same work, are paid up to £2 per hour higher than Tempay staff. Many of the Tempay staff have worked on the site for several years. Tempay staff are guaranteed only 7 hours per week.

The legal claims brought by GMB, on behalf its members, are against all four companies: DHL, Wincanton, 24-7 Recruitment Services, and Tempay Ltd.

The claims relate to the Agency Worker Regulations, which came into effect in 2011, and which guarantee equal pay for agency workers after a qualifying period of 12 weeks. A loophole in the law, known as the Swedish Derogation, allows employers to evade these provisions for equal pay, by guaranteeing a few hours of work each week.

Carole Vallelly, GMB Regional Organiser, said “This GMB protest is against M&S getting round the law relating to equal pay for agency staff by the use of the Swedish Derogation. GMB consider that this is unethical and unlawful. 

The South Marston site is operated wholly for the benefit of Marks and Spencer. It is clear that the treatment of these workers is in breach of both M&S’ Code of Ethics and Behaviour and also in breach of M&S’ Global Sourcing Principles. The Global Sourcing Principles require each of M&S’ suppliers, whether of goods or services, to comply with all relevant laws and regulations relating to terms of employment.

See notes to editors for links to M&S global and M&S Code of Ethics. 

GMB is pressing M&S to investigate the working practices at the South Marsden site. There are mothers on the bus on their way into work having left their children with child-minders who get text messages saying they are not needed that day. How can M&S do this to their workers?

As a matter of principle GMB believes that all staff at South Marston site who are doing the same work should receive equal pay whoever they work for. We want an end to the two tier workforce.”

End

GMB Wiltshire branch secretary, Andy Newman on 0754 0859 227, or GMB Regional Organiser, Carole Vallelly on 07912 181476 or Kevin Brandstatter 07813 207374 or Chris Watts on 01793 818 005 or 07776 238 327 GMB Press Office 07921 289 880

NOTES

M&S global sourcing:

http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/documents/policy-documents/global-sourcing-principles.pdf

M&S Code of Ethics:

 

http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/documents/policy-documents/2_code-of-ethics.pdf