GMB calls on Olympic clothing supplier to pay employees at least £7.20 an hour


The GMB has called on Olympic clothing supplier Next to pay a living wage to staff who can’t afford to shop at their own stores.

Workers at the high street retailer are urging shoppers to back a campaign for the company to pay a living wage of £8.30 per hour for employees in London and £7.20 for employees in the rest of the UK.

Next is the Olympic supplier of clothing and has nearly 50,000 employees at over 500 stores, call centres and warehouses in the UK and Ireland. GMB members will demonstrate outside the company shops as a part of the campaign.

Next is currently advertising jobs warehouse jobs in Yorkshire for as low as £4.42 per hour which can only be paid to young workers aged 16 and 17. They are offering £2.60 per hour for apprentices. They are advertising jobs in their Epsom store for £4.98 per hour. The rate they offer for retail staff aged 21 and over is £6.08 – the main national minimum rate for workers aged 21 and over.

Yesterday the company issued a trading statement saying they expected profits to be up by between £10m and £15m to make profits of up to £620m for the year to Jan 2013. The company have a very high net profit margin of nearly 15p per pound of sales.

GMB regional secretary Paul Maloney said: “Simon Wolfson, the Tory supporter who is the boss at Next, denies that we are in the middle of a double dip recession caused by the austerity policies he supports.

“This shows how out of touch the elite of this country like Wolfson actually are from the realities on the ground. It is employers like Next who should help to lift the economy from recession by paying decent wages.

“Wolfson’s own employees cannot afford to shop in his stores given that he pays them so badly. That shows how far capitalism has moved from Henry Ford who wanted his employees to be paid enough to buy his cars.

“Next is a very profitable employer enjoying very high profit margins at the expense of their own staff.  NEXT could raise wages for all staff by a £1 per hour and still make profits in excess of £550m per year.

“Next can afford to pay a living wage of £8.30 per hour for London employees and £7.20 for employees in the rest of the UK and should be shamed into doing so.

“GMB will campaign that profitable companies like Next to pay their staff a living wage so that they can support their families and not have to rely on tax credit benefits to survive.”

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