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NEXT Hours Change Imposed

Friday, May 17, 2013

Next Retail Change Hours Of Working Parents In South Coast Store With Little Thought Given To Social Impact

Many long term staff at NEXT been informed that they must accept reductions in hours and new working times which are simply neither realistic or financially viable says GMB

Staff employed at a NEXT store on the South Coast have been given notice that they must agree to changes in their hours of work. There are being asked to state preferences to 3 out of 30 possible rosters for their new weekly hours at the store. They are not being allowed to stay with their current contacted hours.

There is just one 1 roster with hours which adds up to 12.5 hours per week, the longest on offer. This involves working 1pm to 5pm Monday and 9am to 12 noon on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There are 7 rosters with the shortest hours on offer which adds up to 6 hours per week. One roster for example requires a worker to opt for 2pm to 5pm on Sunday and 5pm to 8pm on Friday. There are 9 rosters adding up to 6.25 hours per week, 1 adding up to 6.75 hours per week, 3 adding up to 7 hours per week, 5 adding up to 7.5 hours per week and 4 others rosters offering less than 12.5 hours.

Staff are told they will get their first preference roster if no one else has selected it. If someone else has then selection will be based on current disciplinary record and attendance.

These changes are consistent with study by GMB in March 2013. This showed that 729 or nearly 80% of the 935  then current job vacancies at NEXT in the UK and Ireland are for part time staff being offered 12 hours and under per week. Only 53 of the 935 total vacancies or 5.7% pay wages above the £144 per week threshold for employers to pay national insurance contributions. The majority of the jobs offer pay between £5.08 and £6.21 per hour. 55 of the jobs are for apprentices with no pay rates identified above the national minimum wage of £2.65 per hour.

GMB has staged four demonstrations at NEXT for a living wage of £8.55 per hour in London and of £7.45 per hour in the rest of the country.

NEXT has recently reported gross profits of £1.12billion for the 12 months to Jan 2013. In the previous financial year Next made super profits of 17.5p per £ spent in the shops while average wages for staff are less than £9,571 per worker per year. In the same year

Adrian Baker, GMB Regional Officer, said “Many long term staff within NEXT been informed that they must accept reductions in hours and new working times which are simply neither realistic or financially viable.

These unilateral imposed changes in working hours will hit those with childcare commitments hardest.

The staff are being told that there are no options other than accept reductions of hours. The rosters themselves are seemingly designed to stop working parents from playing a role within the company.

These changes come weeks after Lord Wolfson CEO of NEXT and Conservative Party donor passed on his £2.4 annual bonus to staff in a PR stunt. The same staff are now becoming aware of the reality of how their CEO operates.

Working parents who simply cannot change their hours have checked what impact this will have and it appears that they will be seen to have made themselves unemployed and therefore will either not receive benefits or see them slashed.

One mother  who is scared of losing her home told the GMB “This just stinks, one minute we are told how wonderful we all are and the next I face not having a roof over my head, why did they not see how many staff could have been saved using this so called bonus rather that treating us like this”

This is a short sighted strategy. It should have been stopped in its tracks before the recent bonus was announced.

You must ask why being the CEO of  NEXT, Lord Wolfson did not consider the stability and security of employment of his staff before publicly seeking the mantle of a charitable employer. Both staff and GMB ask that he uses his role to put a stop to this assault on vulnerable staff and their families.”

Contact:  Adrian Baker 07841 071 849 Paul Maloney 07801 343 839 or Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237 178 or Mick Rix 07971 268 343 or Michelle Gordon 07866 369 259 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880

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