Voice of the Employee

Marks and Spencer has been slammed by shop workers’ union Usdaw over the share awards it has granted to its top bosses, with chief executive Steve Rowe set to take home almost £2 million on top of his annual salary in 2019.

Mr Rowe stands to gain 555,640 shares at £3.28 each, which equates to just over £1.8 million, if certain conditions are met.

Finance chief Helen Weir could pocket a potential £1.3 million, and Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, director of customer, marketing and M&, could make £1.2 million.

The pay packets depend on the company’s earnings per share, its cash flow and its return on capital employed – a measure of the profitability and efficiency with which capital is used – over a three-year period.

Usdaw’s deputy general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Our members in M&S find it difficult to understand how the company can justify such huge rewards for senior management when the staff are facing enforced pay cuts and store closures.”

He said union members are particularly unhappy with Mr Rowe’s prospective bumper bonus as they recently signed new contracts “with worse terms and conditions, under duress and the threat of losing out on the limited compensation package”.

Mr Lillis added: “Others are still challenging the changes, despite the company’s threat of dismissal next year, because they simply cannot see how they will make ends meet with a much lower income.”

He added that workers feel there is an axe hanging over them since M&S announced large-scale store closures but did not give specific details on which shops would be affected.

Referring to the company’s Christmas slogan, Mr Lillis added: “I’m afraid there won’t be much magic and sparkle for M&S staff this Christmas as they worry about whether it will be their job under threat in the new year.

“Usdaw is the independent trade union for M&S staff, it is about time the company ended their refusal to recognise that. With all the upheaval and changes that the business is going through, we urge M&S management to get round the table with Usdaw to ensure our members have a voice in their future in the business.”

An M&S spokesman said: “The changes to pay and premiums, which come into effect from April, will reward our people in a fair and consistent way, simplify and modernise our business and make our colleagues amongst the highest paid in UK retail.

“Nobody need be worse off and the vast majority will receive higher total pay.”

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