Marks & Spencer (M&S) has denied union claims that it acted outside the Acas code of conduct on redundancies.
The GMB union has now written an open letter to M&S executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose in which it says the redundancy programme “flies in the face of the spirit and intent of the Acas code”.
The union criticised the retailer’s decision not to allow voluntary redundancies in stores surrounding those due to close. “In this recession it defies understanding why Marks & Spencer would have taken this route when the company could so easily have retained goodwill by allowing those who wanted to leave to do so, and retaining those staff anxious to stay with the company.”
However, an M&S spokeswoman insisted the firm would give the full 90-day protected employment period to all affected employees at all the stores involved, and had complied fully with its legal obligations.
“M&S does not have a company policy of voluntary redundancy,” she said.
The Acas code states voluntary redundancies are one of a number of measures employers should consider to minimise compulsory redundancies.