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Last Updated: Friday, 4 July, 2003, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
M&S abandons pay cut plans
Marks and Spencer store in London
M&S has reached a compromise
Marks and Spencer has ditched controversial plans to suspend double pay for shop assistants working unsociable hours.

The company's change of heart follows a flood of complaints from employees.

Last month, the Transport and General Workers' Union called the proposed pay cuts a "disgrace," and vowed to file hundreds of grievances on behalf of angry workers.

The company, which does not recognise the union, said the changes had been made after gathering feedback from its staff.

M&S originally said it was shaking up its pay packages in order to bring it into line with its High Street competitors.

The union estimated that the changes, which also include a different system for paying bonuses, would have cost staff about 150 a month.

Healthy profits

Although the original proposals have been substantially watered down, staff may still be looking at smaller pay packets.

While M&S will still pay its staff double for Sunday and Bank holiday work, the definition of "unsociable hours" has moved from before 9am and after 7pm to before 6am and after 11pm.

M&S has said it will pay its staff a one-off lump sum to make up for the pay cuts for the first year.

And the company stresses that its package is still one of the top three available on the High Street.

The shake-up in pay and benefits comes as M&S is starting to turn its business around and is reporting healthier profits.

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