Retailer Marks and Spencer has enhanced the pay deal offered to staff, including the extension of top up payments and pension cash supplements for affected employees.
The agreed offer follows the completion of a three-month consultation on pay and pensions with the organisation’s national employee representative group, the Business Involvement Group.
The changes will see pay for customer assistants rise by 14.7% to £8.50 an hour, or £9.65 an hour in Greater London. The organisation will also increase pay for section co-ordinators and section managers.
The premium payment structure will be simplified by removing premium pay for Sunday hours and by moving to one standard payment for working bank holidays.
Marks and Spencer will top up pay over the following two years for employees that would receive lower pay as a result of these changes, ensuring they reach 2015-2016 pay levels.
Staff who would still receive lower pay in 2019-2020 compared to 2015-16, will now also receive an additional top up payment of 50% of their reduction in total pay. They will also be offered guaranteed extra hours to make up the remaining 50%. These will amount to a maximum of three hours a week and will be optional.
Top up payments and extra hours will then be offered annually until an employee’s pay reaches the 2015-2016 level.
The pay changes will come into effect from April 2017.
From April 2017, active members of the Marks and Spencer defined benefit (DB) pension scheme will not earn new benefits, and will instead be offered the chance to join the organisation’s defined contribution (DC) pension scheme.
The organisation has extended the pension cash supplement support for staff affected by the pension changes from two to three years.
It will also maintain the death-in-service benefit at four times salary for DB pension scheme members who do not enrol into the DC scheme. Early retirement factors for deferred DB pension scheme members are also set to be improved.
Employees will only be eligible for the transition support if they agree to the changes.
Sacha Berendji, retail director at Marks and Spencer, said: “We’ve listened to our colleagues, acted on their feedback and are pleased that we’ve reached an outcome that gives enhanced support for our colleagues as well as making necessary changes to our business.
“From April 2017, our people will be amongst the highest paid in UK retail and receive one of the best benefits packages. The changes will reward our people in a fair and consistent way, simplify and modernise our business and help us attract and retain the best talent so we can continue to provide great service for our customers.”
Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, who has protested against the pay changes, said: “While we are obviously glad that the new offer is better with regard to pay compensation packages, it still falls short of the offer that longstanding and loyal staff from Britain’s premier retailer really deserve.”