Fashion retailer Next has been accused of bullying its employees to give up
overtime pay for working on Sundays or risk losing their jobs.
The UK retailer is seeking to cut the premium bonus 800 store staff are
currently entitled to, worth up to 20 pounds a week or 1,000 pounds a year
per employee. The employees currently earning bonuses all joined the
company before 2008 – staff who joined the team at Next afterwards were no
longer entitled to the Sunday bonus.
Affected employees are being shifted to new contracts, under which they do
not recieve Sunday bonuses and those who refuse will be made redundant.
Next revealed to the Guardian that they had offered compensation which is
equal to one-third of the Sunday premium which the staff has earned over
the past year to those who accepted the change.
However, a number of staff have reportedly accepted redundancy packages,
whilst other remain on the fence what to do. “Working on a Sunday, since it
was introduced back in the 90s, has become a new normal – so Next feels it
is no longer justifiable to pay some of its staff up to 50 percent more
than colleagues doing the same work on the same day,” commented a spokesman
Mick Rix, the national officer for retail workers at the GMB union which
has worked with staff at Next remains unsatisfied. “Next claims that it
considers Sunday to be a normal working day and uses this opinion to
justify cutting pay on Sunday. There can hardly be a better example of a
company that has a total disregard for family life.”