Marks & Spencer workers vote for strike action in dispute over pension scheme

Friday 29 November 2013 21.51
Marks & Spencer management closed the workers' defined benefit pension scheme on 31 October
Marks & Spencer management closed the workers' defined benefit pension scheme on 31 October

Workers in Marks & Spencer have voted in favour of industrial action following the closure of the workers' pension scheme without agreement.

The workers voted by a margin of 94% in favour of strike action.

Mandate trade union, which represents the majority of the 2,300 staff in the company, has written to management informing them that strike action will take place across 17 stores nationally on Saturday 7 December, with two further days planned before Christmas.

Marks & Spencer management closed the workers' defined benefit pension scheme without agreement on 31 October.

It informed the workers that their retirement fund is a "discretionary benefit".

The union said the scheme is performing and is in surplus to the tune of approximately €17m.

Mandate and SIPTU will place pickets on all Marks & Spencer stores in Ireland on 7 December, 12 December and 20 December.

According to Mandate, at the most recent Labour Relations Committee conciliation conference, the company put forward proposals to buy out existing terms and conditions of employment.

However, the union said the company have "retained their position to unilaterally change the workers' pension scheme which is entirely unacceptable".

Earlier this year, after a strategic review the company closed four shops that it said were unprofitable.

An Marks and Spencer spokesperson said: "M&S has done all it can to try and move this situation forward so we are extremely disappointed that the company has been given notice that strike action has been called.

“We are fully prepared to reopen talks at any time either locally or at the Labour Relations Commission in order to avoid the impact on our customers and employees in the run up to Christmas."