Marks & Spencer proposes 245 voluntary redundancies

Workers in Marks & Spencer stores across Ireland voted in favour of industrial action

“People working from home and lack of tourists on the ground has impacted our sales in our city centre stores," says retailer

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4 May 2021 | 0

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Across its 18 Irish stores, Marks & Spencer is seeking 245 voluntary redundancies as part of a move to realign its business model in Ireland.

The Sunday Independent reports trade unions Mandate and Siptu will ballot staff later this month on the proposed redundancy plan.

“Our sales in Ireland had already been in decline prior to Covid-19,” M&S said in a document outlining its redundancy proposal. M&S had already seen “a major shift to online shopping and a reduction in footfall to our stores before Covid 19”, it said.

“The migration to online shopping accelerated significantly during Covid-19 and this will continue going forward,” the document continued. “People working from home and lack of tourists on the ground has impacted our sales in our city centre stores. This will continue for the foreseeable future.

“A very low turnover rate means that we have original staffing levels in these stores despite a significant decrease in sales and a number of contracts which may no longer be appropriate to the current retail environment and business.”

Flagship stores in Grafton St and Mary St in Dublin and Patrick St in Cork, as well as at Liffey Valley and Dundrum shopping centres, would carry most of the redundancies but staff at all 18 stores with 10 years’ service could apply. Staff in support functions such as HR, marketing and finance, would also be eligible to apply.

The document stated that applicants (providing they had at least 10 years’ service) would be chosen on a “first-in first-out” basis and would be offered five weeks’ pay per year of service, inclusive of statutory redundancy, capped at two years. They would also receive a once off ex-gratia payment ranging from one week’s pay for those with 21 years’ service to €14,000 for those with 30 years’ service.

“Successful volunteers” would also receive an M&S card with one-year discount allowance of €3,000.

After the voluntary redundancy process has been completed, M&S said it would be “committed to keeping the staffing levels under constant review” in light of any potential future improvements in trade. The retailer’s proposal also said it would enter pay negotiations for remaining staff once the redundancy programme has been completed.

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