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End Three Tier Pay At M&S Swindon Depot

Monday, July 6, 2015

GMB Call On Marks And Spencer To Act To End Three Tier Pay Structure For Workers At The Swindon Distribution Depot

The three groups are doing the same job working by side yet bottom tier is paid £2.07 per hour less and middle tier £1.80 per hour less than top tier says GMB.

GMB, the union for staff in the Marks and Spencer (M&S) supply chain, is calling on the company to end the three tier pay structure for employees working for contractors at the Swindon Distribution Centre.

The Swindon distribution centre, owned by M&S, is used to supply their stores. M&S contract the running of the facility to DHL. DHL in turn contract recruitment agency, 24-7, to provide agency workers who are given employment contracts in the name of Tempay Ltd. Tempay shares the same registered business address as 24-7.

DHL has recently offered direct employment to 180 workers who were employed by Tempay at the Swindon depot. They have employed them on Tier 2 full time contracts earning £6.77 per hour. This compares with DHL Tier 1 employees who earn £8.57 per hour. Tempay employees in the depot earn £6.50 per hour on a limited hours contract.

GMB is taking legal claims on behalf of members at Tempay against DHL, Wincanton, 24-7 Recruitment Services, and Tempay Ltd over evasion of the terms of 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. See notes to editors for copy of the GMB press release.

Carole Vallelly, GMB Regional Organiser, said “GMB call on Marc Bolland the M&S Chief Executive to intervene to end the three tier contracts that apply to contractors working at the Swindon depot.

The Tier 2 employees are overwhelmingly black, whilst the employees on Tier 1 are overwhelmingly white. These Tier 2 employees shockingly earn £1.80 per hour less than the Tier 1 workers. The Tempay workers earn £2.07 per hour less than the Tier 1 workers.

The three groups of workers are doing exactly the same work and work side by side. In addition the Tier 1 and 2 workers have exactly the same job titles and job descriptions, and have exactly the same employer.

GMB has brought this to the attention of both Marks and Spencer and DHL who refuses to resolve the inequality.

It is an absolute disgrace that a company like DHL, while working for Marks and Spencer, believe it acceptable that there can be such discrimination in their workforce and can refuse to engage with the GMB who represent the Tier 2 and Tempay workers on the site.

GMB believes in equal pay for all people doing the same job, and we will fight discrimination wherever we see it.  We call on DHL negotiate with the GMB to stop this three tier pay and pay all people equal pay for equal work.

We want to see changes for workers for Tempay Ltd who have 7 hour per week contracts, but are given rotas for 37 hours. If they are not available for every day of rota they are disciplined for absenteeism, but the employer can cancel work days with no notice, and send workers home at any time, sometime as soon as they arrive for work.

Using ‘permanent’ contracts for the nominal 7 hours a week allows employers to evade the provisions of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR), which came into force in 2011, that are designed to guarantee equal pay after 12 weeks employment. This abuse is popularly called the “Swedish Derogation”.

Many of the Tempay staff at M&S Swindon have worked at the site for several years. Over 75% of non-managerial staff are agency workers. GMB has commenced legal action as such long permanent assignments are contrary to the intention of the Swedish derogation and GMB believes indicate a regulation avoidance tactic.

Marc Bolland has just received a huge pay and bonus package, earned at least in part from the exploitation of the workers in the Swindon distribution centre. He has a duty to ensure that suppliers stick to the ethical standards demanded by M&S’s Global Sourcing Policy."


Contact: 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 to editors

GMB press release dated 28th May


Rogue employers should not be allowed to abuse their staff, and we are determined to support our members' rights by pursuing these cases through the courts says GMB

GMB, the union for workers in the Marks and Spencer (M&S) distribution supply chain, has commenced legal proceedings on behalf of 240 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 £6.50 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

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 "GMB has always argued that getting round the law relating to equal pay by the use of the Swedish Derogation is unethical.

On examination of the specific contracts of employment of our members used on this M&S site, we believe that the terms of these contracts seeking to avoid equal pay are unenforceable, and the attempt by the employers to evade their responsibilities to their staff is not only unethical but also unlawful.

Our members argue that over a period of years, the employers on this site have played fast and loose with the law, not only failing to follow the Agency Workers Regulations, but also failing to follow TUPE regulations that protect workers when they are transferred between businesses. GMB will not allow rogue employers to abuse their staff, and we are determined to support our members' rights by pursuing these cases through the courts.

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.

The use of so-called Swedish Derogation contracts is also seemingly in breach of the Global Sourcing Principles which states that temporary labour arrangements must not be used to avoid obligations to workers under labour laws and regulations

M&S must question whether they have an ethical supply chain, when within their own UK distribution chain, unethical and unlawful employment practices are used. Particularly as M&S's own policies demonstrate that they exercise oversight of the practices used in their supply chain. GMB has previously raised with M&S the practices at this site, in order to give them the opportunity to resolve them, but these malpractices continue.

The GMB call on M&S to investigate the working practices at the South Marsden site. 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."


M&S global sourcing:

M&S Code of Ethics:



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