• Changes will go ahead with ‘significantly improved’ financial support
  • All staff will either receive higher pay or the ‘opportunity’ to maintain their current pay level
  • Pension cash supplement support has been extended from two to three years

Marks & Spencer has unveiled a revised staff pay and pensions deal following consultation with its employees in the wake of a petition.

The retailer had come under fire from campaigners for its original proposals, which would have resulted in some staff losing perks and premiums, and said the new scheme has been welcomed by employee representatives.

MP Siobhain McDonagh on M&S pay changes

The changes came a day after Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh delivered a petition with more than 90,000 signatures to M&S, demanding that the retailer backtrack on its original proposals.

One of the most controversial aspects was that, although most of M&S’s 70,000 employees would be better off, some would not. The retailer had offered a two-year financial cushion in such cases, but that did not stop a backlash.

M&S has now promised that all employees will now either benefit from higher pay or have the “opportunity” to maintain their present pay level. For two years pay would be topped up to 2015/16 levels for anyone who would otherwise receive lower total pay. In 2019/20, any such colleague would receive a 50% top-up and offered guaranteed, optional extra hours to make up the difference.

Nobody would have to work more than three extra hours per week, according to the retailer.

‘Necessary changes’

Marks & Spencer retail director Sacha Berendji, said: “We’ve listened to our colleagues, acted on their feedback and are pleased that we’ve reached an outcome that gives enhanced support for our colleagues as well as making necessary changes to our business.

“From April 2017 our people will be amongst the highest paid in UK retail and receive one of the best benefits packages.

“Our initial feeling is we are glad there’s been some improvement but it falls way short for Britain’s premium retailer”

Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh

“The changes will reward our people in a fair and consistent way, simplify and modernise our business and help us attract and retain the best talent so we can continue to provide great service for our customers.”

M&S Business Involvement Group chair John Dorrington said: “On behalf of the Business Involvement Group, our elected employee representative body, we are satisfied that we have concluded a period of robust collective consultation where all views from across M&S have been strongly represented. In our view the business has listened carefully to all views and suggestions and as a result has made a number of key changes to the original proposals.”

However, McDonagh said the changes do not go far enough. She said: “While we are obviously glad that the new offer is better with regard to pay compensation packages, it still falls short of the offer that longstanding and loyal staff from Britain’s premier retailer really deserve.

“In 2019 they will earn no more than they do in 2016. Who thinks their gas bills, electricity bills and their rent, and travel fares will be the same in 2019 as they are today? Will Steve Rowe guarantee that he will earn no more in three years’ time than he does today?”