NEXT Sheffield Protest With Paul Heaton

28 May 2014

NEXT should pay wages and enough hours of work for people to live on and as a starting point they should pay £7.65 per hour and £8.80 per hour in London. GMB, the union for retail workers, will hold a public protest on Thursday 29th May with musician Paul Heaton outside NEXT Sheffield store to coincide with a national tour by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott which arrives in the city on Thursday. NEXT employ 50,000 workers at over 500 stores, call centres and warehouses in the UK and Ireland. GMB is supporting the national tour by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott tour during May and June. Paul headed up the Housemartins and together they headed up the Beautiful South in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

In March NEXT reported a 12% increase in annual profits to £695m. NEXT says it expects profits in 2014 to rise by up to £770m. NEXT said January that it is generating more cash than can be invested in the business so it will pay a special £300m pay out to shareholders. NEXT currently pay £6.33 per hour to those 21 and over and £5.47 to those aged 18 to 20. GMB is aware of that many jobs are for12.5 hours per week or less in some stores. Some store staff may get a bonus which the company claim can amount to an additional 4% to 7% on hourly rates. Staff hourly rates will also increase by 37p from 1st June. This will leave the majority of staff well below a living wage of £7.65 per hour and £8.80 per hour in London.

Details of the photocall protest are as follows:

at 3.30pm with Paul Heaton,

Thursday 29th May,

Outside NEXT,

45-47 Fargate,

Sheffield S1 2HD.

GMB will present an ASBO to store manager for failing to make work pay for Next workers.

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for retail staff, said “GMB is calling on NEXT to pay wages and enough hours of work for people to live on. As a starting point, we are demanding £7.65 per hour and £8.80 per hour in London. GMB asks shoppers to support diverting a special £300m pay out to shareholders and spend it instead to offer jobs with longer hours per week and to pay staff a living wage. It is time NEXT made work pay. If this was done, staff would not need their meagre wages to be topped up by taxpayers with family tax credits and housing benefits so as to make ends meet.

That NEXT is over-subscribed when it offers jobs is a reflection on the level of youth unemployment not that NEXT jobs are so good. That is why GMB is protesting outside NEXT stores as the Paul Heaton tour swings across Britain. GMB presents an ASBO to NEXT because it is an employer that does not face up to its social responsibilities.”

Contact: Deanne Ferguson in Sheffield on 07850 919933