Marks and Spencers has announced plans to boost basic pay for its workers by 15%, but those earning special pay rates are expected to lose out.
The high street retailer says that the pay rise will give their employees one of the highest hourly rates in retail in the country. They are planning to increase basic hourly pay to £8.50 from next April, but will also be cutting the pay of around 10% of its shop floor workers who have been earning extra after 6pm on Sundays and bank holidays.
Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh has claimed that Marks and Spencer’s workers will be losing up to around £2,000 a year because of these changes. She has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to close the loopholes which allow firms to make these changes.
David Cameron responded by saying that he hadn’t seen the specific proposals by M&S, but he did want the national living wage to result in a “higher take home pay, not lower take home pay.”
There has been pressure on the government to clamp down on employers that offset an increase in basic pay by cutting other benefits. To help keep the staff wage bill down, a number of companies have already cut overtime, bonuses, Sunday pay, paid breaks and free food. McDonagh has been campaigning to get the government to stop changes like this, including making sure that workers are paid for the 20-minute break that they are legally entitled to in a six-hour shift.
Marks and Spencer say that this pay increase would offer their workers one of the best benefits packages in retail in the UK. Staff that will be affected by the change will receive a one-off compensation payment, so they will not be financially worse-off for the first two years that the changes are brought in.
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