M&S staff ‘deeply concerned’ by more store closures announced

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Marks and Spencers has announced another round of shop closures after suffering a 10 per cent drop in annual profits.

The retailer – which has a store in Silverburn Shopping Centre – confirmed the threat of 85 more store closures, following the 35 already closed.

All M&S shopworkers were put under threat of redundancy in November 2016 when the company announced a restructuring that would affect more than 100 shops over a five year period.

The closures will take place between now and April 2024.

M&S posted £523.2 million underlying pre-tax profits for the year to March 30.

Commenting on what amounts to a 10% drop in profits Steve Rowe, M&S CEO, is reported to have said that performance was not consistent and had been hit by its store closure programme and wide-ranging revamp plan.

Dave Gill, Usdaw National Officer said: “The tragic irony of the company claiming store closures and restructuring had hit profitability will not be lost on M&S staff who are all working under the threat of redundancy. M&S management are not treating their staff with the dignity and respect they deserve.

“Their piecemeal approach to reorganising the business is extremely distressing for the staff. It offers no comfort when a M&S spokesperson was reported saying no decision has been made over which shops will close and that ‘staff will be the first to know’, when the threat of redundancy hangs over every M&S shopworker.

“Usdaw has thousands of members working for Marks and Spencer and the staff now, more than ever, need the representation and support of an independent trade union; an experienced and knowledgeable trade union interrogating the company’s business case for this store reorganisation.

“We again urge M&S management to abandon their long-held resistance to allowing Usdaw to represent the staff. It is simply unjust that the company have made the decision not to engage with a trade union. The staff are telling us they want Usdaw to represent them not BIG Group, the in-house staff association. It should be their choice.”