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GMB Protest At M&S Swindon

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

GMB Protest On Friday 9th October At Marks And Spencer Swindon Store Over Two Tier Workforce And Work Practices At M&S Swindon Depot

Mothers on the bus on their way into work at M&S depot, having left their children with child-minders, get text messages saying they are not needed that day says GMB.

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

The details of the protest are as follows:

At 12.00 noon Friday 9th October,
outside M&S store,

81 Regent Street,
Swindon,
Wiltshire, SN1 1JY.

There will be members with flags and banners.

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 only guaranteed 7 hours per week but are given a rota for 37.5 hours.

Earlier this year GMB commenced legal proceedings on behalf of members employed at the Marks and Spencer Distribution Centre in Swindon. 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 the company getting round the law on equal pay for agency staff by the use of the Swedish Derogation.

The South Marston site is operated wholly for 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 sourcing policies 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. Although the employer cancels work days for our members with no notice, our members are being disciplined for being unavailable for work through sickness just three times in six months.

In normal jobs, the employer guarantees work, and pays people for doing it. In this M&S distribution centre people have to be available for work every day, but are not then offered that work or paid. This is like modern day slavery. What makes it worse is that the disciplinary proceedings do not refer to any policy in the employees handbook, and it seems that 24-7 Recruitment Services, and Tempay Ltd just make the rules up as they go along.

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.

GMB also demands that M&S investigates how staff can be disciplined for not being available for work, when the employer does not themselves respect the obligation to provide work for those employees."

End

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

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

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