Bugging accusation adds to woes as M&S plans 1,100 job cuts

The GMB union has accused Marks & Spencer of systematically bugging private conversations of its workers.

The news comes as the trade union is preparing to take the retailer to tribunal over the sacking of whistleblower Tony Goode.

According to Personnel Today’s sister publication Computer Weekly, the union will claim that M&S installed a secret, illegal “special line” in the workers’ meeting room that allowed management to overhear their conversations.

Maria Ludkin, a GMB lawyer, alleged the information came from an employee at the technology company Eurosis, which supplied the microphones and other equipment used to bug the room.

A GMB spokesman said Eurosis representatives would be asked to give evidence at the tribunal.

“We aim to show that M&S had a culture of listening in secretly to its workers. That is how they discovered Tony Goode,” he said.

Ludkin alleged that M&S had retained Eurosis for three years to bug private discussions on pay and conditions between worker representatives from the retailer’s European works council. Eurosis no longer worked for M&S, she said.

Ludkin said she had received notice today that M&S intended to defend any action brought in connection with Goode’s dismissal.

An M&S spokesman said she was unaware of any relationship between Eurosis and the retailer, but would check. M&S previously denied that it snooped on its workers.

M&S sacked Goode, who administered the retailer’s customer database, for revealing management plans to cut redundancy payments. The retailer today confirmed plans to cut 1,100 workers.

No date has been set for the tribunal.

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