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'Salami slicing' of M&S causing workers 'huge distress,' says Usdaw

BOSSES’ “salami slicing” of Marks and Spencer is causing huge distress to workers, retail union Usdaw said yesterday as the high street chain announced 14 more store closures.

The company proposes to shut stores in Andover, Basildon, Bridlington, Denton, Falmouth, Fareham, Keighley and Stockport, threatening the loss of 468 jobs.

Another six shops, in Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Durham, Fforestfach, Putney and Redditch, will close by the end of April . M&S said staff at these branches would be redeployed to nearby stores.

Chief executive Steve Rowe announced the cuts as part of a five-year plan to improve the company’s performance. It has already announced branch closures and the shutting of its London distribution centre, where 380 jobs are at risk.

In a further cost-cutting move, M&S plans to outsource more than half of its 430-strong IT team.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and B&Q have also recently announcing large-scale job cuts. High inflation has increased prices, while Tory cuts to local authority budgets have encouraged councils to raise business rates.

M&S retail director Sacha Berendji said the company would “work with each colleague individually on what is best for them as we endeavour to give everyone a role,” while warning that, “in some cases, we may have to consider redundancy.”

Usdaw national officer David Gill called the news “devastating” and said M&S management had caused upset by not telling workers where the axe would fall when the intention to shut 60 stores was announced in November 2016.

“This salami-slicing approach to reorganising the business is extremely distressing for the staff,” he said.

Mr Gill pledged that the union would explore “all avenues to save jobs” and called on M&S bosses to “abandon their long-held resistance to recognising Usdaw.”

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