Retail union Usdaw is planning to launch a membership drive for staff at Marks & Spencer, as the high street retailer aims to change some of its more favourable terms and conditions.
With no history of trade union involvement at Marks & Spencer, the union has embarked on a campaign, starting in the North West division, to bring the benefits of union membership to workers at the stores.
Staff at Marks & Spencer need the union as much as any other retail employee in the UK, said area organiser Mike Aylward, who is leading the campaign.
“When individual workers are faced with changes to their contracts they need independent expert advice,” he said.
“Most employees will not know where they stand in relation to the law, their rights, and the consequences of standing up to changes forced upon them. That is where we come in.”
Marks & Spencer operates an internal consultation process called the business involvement group (Big). This is made up of employees who have neither training nor support in terms of legal advice on employment law and other issues, Usdaw said.
“The Big set-up is clearly not working,” said Alyward. “It’s not a genuine consultation process. Staff need the expertise an independent trade union can provide.”