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M&S Sparkle Turns to Strike

Workers at Marks and Spencer will strike in the run up the Christmas. A blow to the retailer as SIPTU members have balloted in favour of a strike during one of the busiest times for retail. The one day strike is happening today the 7/12/2013. The protest is at managements decision to unilaterally close the workers' defined benefit pension scheme. SIPTU represents about 140 of the M&S work force. The union was not consulted when it was announced that the defined benefit scheme would close on the 31st of October. Two more work stoppages will take place on Thursday 7th of December and Friday 20th December 2013.

SIPTU Organiser, Neil McGowan, said: “SIPTU represents approximately 140 workers employed in Marks & Spencer stores across the Dublin area. The workers are disgusted at the decision of the management of Marks & Spencer to close their defined benefit pension scheme on 31st October without discussion or agreement with the union. The workers also believe that
management at the company has acted in a disingenuous manner by issuing statements claiming that it wishes to meet workers’ representatives to resolve the issues in dispute when this has not actually been the case.”

He added: “There were no meaningful discussions with union representatives in relation to the closure of the pension scheme, with management taking the view that the scheme is a ‘discretionary benefit’. The company has failed to provide satisfactory evidence to support its claims in relation to the pension scheme and cuts to other benefits. These include plans to cut workers’ premiums and Christmas bonus. At all times the workers’ trade union representatives have been willing to enter into meaningful talks.”