GMB Protests For Living Wage At Next AGM In Leicester On 15 May And At Next Stores With Paul Heaton During Tour In 9 Cities Across Britain From 21 May
Public pressure needed to secure diverting £300m special payment to shareholders to longer hours for staff and living wage of £7.65 per hour and £8.80 per hour in London as it is time for NEXT to make work pay says GMB.
GMB, the union for retail workers, will hold a public protest at the NEXT AGM in Leicester on 15th May to call for a living wage for 50,000 NEXT workers at over 500 stores, call centres and warehouses in the UK and Ireland.
This will be followed by further public protests, some with musician Paul Heaton, calling for a living wage outside 9 NEXT stores in the UK during May and June to coincide with a national tour by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott. See dates below.
GMB is supporting the national tour by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott tour during May and June. Paul headed up the Housemartins and together they headed up the Beautiful South in the 1980's and 1990's.
In March NEXT reported a 12% increase in annual profits to £695m. NEXT says it expects profits in 2014 to rise by up to £770m. NEXT said January that it is generating more cash than can be invested in the business so it will pay a special £300m pay out to shareholders.
NEXT currently pay £6.31 per hour to those 21 and over, £5.03 to those aged 18 to 20, £3.72 to those under 18 and £2.68 per hour to retail apprentices. This is well below a living wage of £7.65 per hour and £8.80 per hour in London. It has a limit of 12.5 hours per week on jobs offered in some stores. Last month NEXT announced that some staff will share a £4m bonus in proportion to their base salaries and staff hourly rates will also increase by 37p from 1st June.
The details of the protest at the Annual General Meeting of NEXT plc are as follows:
From 9am on Thursday 15 May 2014
Outside Leicester Marriott Hotel,
Grove Park, Leicester LE19 1SW .
The protests will be held outside city centre NEXT stores as follows:
Wednesday 21th May Newcastle on Tyne at 11am with Paul Heaton (day after show)
Thursday 22 st May Glasgow at 11am with Paul Heaton (day after show)
Friday 23rd May Salford at 11am
Saturday 24th May Leeds at 11am
Monday 26th May Bristol at 11am (day after the show)
Thursday 29th May Sheffield at 3.30pm with Paul Heaton
Friday 30th May Birmingham at 3.30pm with Paul Heaton
Saturday 31st May Hull at 12 noon
Monday 1st June Liverpool at 11am (day after show)
GMB will shortly announce address details of the NEXT stores. GMB will present an ASBO at the AGM and to store managers for failing to make work pay for Next workers.
Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for retail staff, said “GMB will present an ASBO to NEXT as an employer that does not face up to its social responsibilities.
We are asking shareholders and consumers to support diverting the special £300m pay out to shareholders and spending it instead to offer jobs above the 12.5 hour maximum per week in some stores and to pay staff a living wage of £7.65 per hour and £8.80 per hour in London. It is time NEXT made work pay.
There has to be a stepping up of public pressure on NEXT to invest this £300m in better pay and longer hours for staff. Staff now require their meagre wages to be topped up with family tax credits and housing benefits so as to make ends meet.
GMB will use the tour to promote the messages that "Only unions make work pay" and "British workers need a pay rise". GMB will also highlight the problems of zero hours contracts, bogus self-employment, wages levels no-one can live on and the recovery that has yet to impact on ordinary workers.
While the recovery underway is welcome we have a very long way to go to climb out of the hole caused by the recession. Much of the growth so far is due to demographic factors GDP per head is still 5.7% below 2007 levels. That is the root cause of average earnings being down 13.8% in real terms since then.
That is why GMB are holding protests outside the NEXT AGM and at stores as the Paul Heaton tour swings across Britain.”
Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237178 or Mick Rix 07971 268343 or Martin Smith 07974 251 823 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823 or for contact at the protests 07880 316159 or 07939 975233