To: All Mandate Members, Marks & Spencer
Re: National Pay and Benefit Negotiations
12 August 2021
Please be advised that our first meeting with company representatives took place yesterday, 11th August regarding our outstanding pay claim. The talks were held in a very open and forthright manner whereby a number of serious concerns were raised by Mandate and SIPTU in relation to the significantly increased productivity levels following the recent redundancy programme along with the negative impact for staff right across the store network. Concerns about low staff morale, unworkable staffing levels and in some cases a cross over into tasks associated with management grades were discussed. In some stores demarcation lines between union roles was compromised on occasion, all of which are totally unacceptable.
As part of any agreement, the Unions are seeking a reaffirmation of collectively agreed roles and responsibilities. Importantly we are seeking to address the continued use of week to week contracts, our objective being to majorly reduce and eventually eradicate them from the business. Our aim is to create certainty and permanency for workers within the Marks and Spencer business.
The protection and maintenance of your hard fought terms and conditions was set out as our fundamental positon at the outset of the discussions. While the Company have no doubt experienced challenges in trade, all of which was shared with both unions at our meeting, management were also reminded that our members have been on the frontline during the pandemic, maintaining and growing the local business, serving communities at a risk to themselves and their loved ones.
Health and Safety matters associated with time spent standing at till points along with the absence of any attempt to alternate staff between the core daily functions of the sales advisor duties were raised. Concerns regarding the Company’s capacity to continue to offer customers the traditional Marks and Spencer niche service was discussed.
The company requested time to consider the matters raised and the parties have agreed to meet again on the 21st September to progress the national discussions, at which point we will update you on any further developments.
The Marks and Spencer National Strategy Team