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M&S blasted as agency worker ‘Scrooges’

21 November 2014

The union GMB staged a demonstration outside the M&S Store in Slough protesting against long hours and relatively low pay for warehouse workers on agency contracts.

Workers employed through the agency Tempay at a Marks and Spencer distribution centre in Swindon earn the minimum wage of £6.50 per hour compared to the £8.50 per hour paid to workers doing exactly the same job but employed directly through Wincanton.

The practice is legal through Section 10 of the Agency Workers Regulations. But GMB is argues it is unethical and runs against the Marks and Spencer ethos. 

Warehouse workers are also being required to work six days every week until January with only one day off in a 14 day period. GMB is also protesting against this.

The Marks and Spencer distribution centre in Swindon is run by Wincanton. However most of the staff are employed by an employment agency, 24.7 Recruitment. They are then formally employed through a further company, called Tempay.

Andy Newman, GMB branch secretary, said: "Despite the arms-length relationship that Marks and Spencer chooses to have with these workers, this is an M&S warehouse, where M&S products are stored and dispatched to M&S stores, to be sold to M&S customers to make profits for M&S shareholders.

"The way M&S is acting the letters M&S could stands for Marley and Scrooge, the mean spirited way these workers are being treated over the Christmas period. GMB members accuse M&S of getting the Ghost of Christmas Past to draw up these contracts with Victorian working conditions.

"Marks and Spencer claim to have an ethical supply chain when it comes to their overseas manufacturing suppliers. GMB is calling for them to take the same interest in ethical business much closer to home.”