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M&S staff are deeply concerned by today's confirmation of many more store closures - Usdaw renews their call for recognition

Date: 22 May 2019 Shopworkers' trade union Usdaw has renewed their call for recognition as the trade union for Marks & Spencer staff after it was today reported that the company's chief executive confirmed the threat of 85 more store closures, following the 35 already closed. All M&S shopworkers were put under threat of redundancy in November 2016 when the company announced a restructuring that would affect more than 100 shops over a five year period. They did not say which store will close and so far we've seen four waves of closure announcements.
M&S today posted £523.2 million underlying pre-tax profits for the year to March 30. Commenting on what amounts to a 10% drop in profits Steve Rowe, M&S CEO, is reported to have said that performance was not consistent and had been hit by its store closure programme and wide-ranging revamp plan.

Dave Gill - Usdaw National Officer says: "The tragic irony of the company claiming store closures and restructuring had hit profitability will not be lost on M&S staff who are all  working under the threat of redundancy. M&S management are not treating their staff with the dignity and respect they deserve.

"Their piecemeal approach to reorganising the business is extremely distressing for the staff. It offers no comfort when a M&S spokesperson was reported saying no decision has been made over which shops will close and that 'staff will be the first to know', when the threat of redundancy hangs over every M&S shopworker.

"Usdaw has thousands of members working for Marks and Spencer and the staff now, more than ever, need the representation and support of an independent trade union; an experienced and knowledgeable trade union interrogating the company's business case for this store reorganisation.

"We again urge M&S management to abandon their long-held resistance to allowing Usdaw to represent the staff. It is simply unjust that the company have made the decision not to engage with a trade union. The staff are telling us they want Usdaw to represent them not BIG Group, the in-house staff association. It should be their choice."

Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 420,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers