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M&S AGM Attendees to Push Company to Agree to Living Wage



Marks and Spencer by Michael via Flickr

Marks & Spencer’s AGM today will be attended by Citizens UK, ShareAction, Craftivist Collective and Care2 who will urge the retailer to not only continue staff pay increases but to sign up as an official Living Wage employer.

They will also deliver a petition from Care2 signed by over 84,000 people in support of the Living Wage at M&S.

In May the company announced its plan to increase staff pay to £8.50 per hour in UK stores and £9.65 per hour in Greater London from April 2017. These hourly rates exceed those set out by the Living Wage Foundation, which are calculated annually according to the cost of living. However, without Living Wage accreditation, there is no guarantee for staff that their wages will continue to rise in line with the cost of living.

Last year ShareAction joined forces with the Craftivist Collective to deliver hand-made messages sewn onto M&S handkerchiefs to board members and its largest shareholders, encouraging them to lead the way for fair pay in the retail sector. These were delivered to the board during the company’s 2015 AGM, during which chairman Robert Swannell praised the action. “This campaign was a test case for how these campaigns should be run,” he said. 

This year Craftivist Collective will be delivering hand-crafted jigsaw cards to the same key decision-makers at M&S, urging the company to complete the puzzle by applying for Living Wage accreditation. 

M&S is currently undertaking a consultation with staff on proposed changes to pay and benefits such as the staff pension.

ShareAction Chief Executive Catherine Howarth said: “We are very pleased that the board of M&S has decided to step up and increase the rates it pays staff. 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 hope our hand-crafted messages of support will inspire the board and key shareholders to press for Living Wage accreditation. This will not only ensure M&S staff are paid enough to live with dignity and respect in years to come – we believe it will spur others in the retail sector to step up too.”

Neil Jameson, Director of Citizens UK, said “Citizens UK are encouraged to hear news of M&S’ plan to increase staff pay to rates above the Living Wage – the independently-calculated hourly rate needed to meet the cost of living which is currently £9.40 in London and £8.25 in the UK. We have been in constructive dialogue with M&S to seek clarity as to what this means for its workers, and we look forward to hearing the outcomes of the consultation in the Autumn. Steve Rowe now has the opportunity to demonstrate his leadership in the sector and become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation.”

Care2 Campaigner Beth Granter says, “Over 80,000 people have signed our petition to M&S to let them know that we expect them to pay their workers a real living wage. We sincerely hope that the new CEO listens, and M&S becomes an accredited Living Wage employer. Failure to pay your employees enough to live on shows a lack of respect for them – the people whose work creates a profit for the business. It also shows a lack of respect for all taxpayers, as benefit payments are often needed to support working people who are paid such unacceptably low wages.”


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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