Marks & Spencer has announced it will increase its staff wages to above the current cost of living. The retailer has said it plans to pay its staff £9.65 per hour in Greater London and £8.50 per hour across the rest of the UK, taking its wages higher than the Living Wage. The wage increase is likely to take effect from April next year.
Last year ShareAction joined forces with the Craftivist Collective to coordinate a series of “stitch-ins” at branches of Marks & Spencer across the UK, for crafters to sew hand-made messages onto M&S handkerchiefs as bespoke gifts for board members and its largest shareholders, encouraging them to not ‘blow it’ but use their power for good governance and lead the way in the retail sector. These were delivered to the board during the company’s 2015 AGM, during which chairman Robert Swannell praised the action, saying: “This campaign was a test case for how these campaigns should be run.”
Catherine Howarth, ShareAction Chief Executive, said: “We are very pleased that the board of M&S has decided to step up and increase the rates it pays staff to above the independent Living Wage rates.
“Working on the M&S campaign, we’ve seen how much people adore the company, and want to see it do the right thing by the people it employs. We hope that the company will demonstrate real leadership in being an employer of choice, and look forward to hearing the results of the staff consultation on today’s proposed changes.
“We’d like to see M&S take the next step, and formally accredit as a Living Wage employer, ensuring its workforce continues to be paid enough to meet the cost of living. Not only is this the right thing to do – it’s also what many investors want to see.”
Sarah Corbett, from the Craftivist Collective, said: “We are glad that it looks like Marks and Spencer will be threading their values through their much-loved company by paying their staff a living wage from April 2017.
“This is a decision that will be life-changing for many workers if implemented fully. We are keen to hear more about these plans at this year’s AGM, which we will be attending to congratulate the CEO and board members in person. We hope this announcement will inspire other companies to treat their staff with dignity and respect.”