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to think M and S are now terrible employers and deserve eveything they get...

(104 Posts)
glasgowsteven Mon 23-Dec-13 10:33:39

Long story short... A friend of mine started with M and S in Leeds, in July, on a 2 month temp contract, with about 60 others..... 30 hours a week, set shifts, nice job...

then after three months they were all given another 3 month temp contract, to take them to 27th Dec.

they were all told, that temp contracts are just a precursor to a Permanent one, and after 3 temp contracts they will all get a permanent one - with a pay rise also...

November comes

"Overtime availability please, the more shifts you are availbale for, the better it will be come contract renewal...."

December 19th comes...

"we are sorry to tell you all that there is not enough work to give the permanent staff, sorry, you all finish on 27th, but we may call you in Feb or march if we need more staff"

Reaction was mixed, disbelief, tears, or walking out, or in some cases a combination of this.....

I could have understood Christmas temps not being kept on after a month, but these folk had been there approx half a year, working full time.

The stories of people who were relying on the money, who have had their confidence trashed, who just want to give up now.....

Horrible place and if they are hitting the skids, the managers at a local level deserve all the flak that is coming

DamnBamboo Mon 23-Dec-13 10:43:44

Without being too blunt, if there isn't enough work, what do you expect M&S to do.

Perhaps they did intend to keep them on but their forecast just doesn't warrant it.

redskyatnight Mon 23-Dec-13 10:44:37

I'm sorry for your friend and those affected.

However ... a temp job is a temp job. Sometimes it may turn into a permanent job, sometimes it may not. Sounds like M&S operate a policy whereby if they renew your temp contract 3 times they have to employ you as permanent (which is what your friend was told about). I accept that your friend may have been led to believe that a permanent contract was there for the taking... however it was foolish of her to rely on this. Things in business move so quickly it is quite possible that it was meant when it was said and circumstances have now changed.

If you read what you've written in your own post ...
"... the more shifts you are available for, the better it will be come contract renewal ..." - that doesn't sound like a done deal to me.

FeckOffCupofMulledWine Mon 23-Dec-13 10:53:51

The employees are a bit short sighted walking out if there's a chance there will be more work in february or march, they're not likely to get taken back on after that.

glasgowsteven Mon 23-Dec-13 10:55:00

I agree, it was a temp contract, but to be told, that was just the way they work and all staff start on temp contracts and then move to perm.

The Christmas overtime bluff, it does not really compute for me, as no one got kept on....

I am unsure as to how they can forecast they will not need any of these staff they let go as the staff were not to cover the christmas busy period but had been there since July.

My own friend is actually ok, the job was not desperate for them as they have been offered something else and the money while handy was not necessary to the household expenses.

But the stories they told me, of young single parents, who were in tears, who had their confidence thrashed, who have now said, whats the point, I may as well just claim......

glasgowsteven Mon 23-Dec-13 10:56:38


I think that was said to stop staff walking out....

which did not really work.....around 20% walked out on the spot.

another 30 odd percent never came back in....

CarolBornAMan Mon 23-Dec-13 10:59:08

Not sure why they are "terrible employers" - far worse out there - the zero contracts hours, below minimum wage etc.. I am sure the conditions your friend worked under were very acceptable and reasonably paid for the industry - most people would know that being taken on to cover the busiest time of year would mean it would be short term. and am sure they made more money than if they had claimed.. so yes you are being unreasonable - right to be disappointed but this is a little over the top

DamnBamboo Mon 23-Dec-13 10:59:50

All businesses produce yearly forecasts, sometimes for longer than a year.
Individual stores in retail will as well, especially those for a company like M&S.
You do of course revise your forecasts regularly because often they end up being different to the reality and if you need more temps, you get them in.
Clearly they see the new year as being a little quiet.

I'm not sure why you posted here, but I don't think M&S are being unreasonable.

FeckOffCupofMulledWine Mon 23-Dec-13 11:01:04

More fool them then the ones who walked out or didn't bother to turn up the next day. Seems a bit of an over dramatic reaction to the fact that a temp contract which they knew had an end date didn't get renewed and I wouldn't think they would get a glowing reference to help them find something else.

Miranda79 Mon 23-Dec-13 11:03:14

Maybe with all the negative publicity in the last 24 hours, they won't be needing many staff at all after Christmas. The timing for these staff certainly stinks. Merry Christmas indeed.

greenfolder Mon 23-Dec-13 11:08:19

This happened to me in 1989! Nothing changes.

glasgowsteven Mon 23-Dec-13 11:08:27

If they had told the staff in November (say) just to let you all know these are very much temp contracts and you should assume you will not employed after 27th Dec

WooWooOwl Mon 23-Dec-13 11:10:03

The people that walked out aren't exactly great employees either, and will make it much easier for M&S to know who is and isn't worth offering work to in the future.

It's sad for the people involved, but I don't think it makes M&S crap employers. It's a business like any other, they have to have work available for people in order to keep them employed. They aren't a public service charity.

treaclesoda Mon 23-Dec-13 11:10:07

I think this is crap for your friend and his/her colleagues, but I'm sure its not limited to M&S. I've lost count of the number of people I've known over the years who have been on temporary contracts with the 'promise' of a permanent contract at the end, only for the permanent job never to materialise.

This stuff has always gone on, sadly, and its always worse when the employer is in the position of power. It wouldn't really happen if there weren't so many people so desperate for work.

DamnBamboo Mon 23-Dec-13 11:10:19

Maybe they didn't know.
M&S have done nothing wrong here OP

treaclesoda Mon 23-Dec-13 11:11:51

I think that sadly you have to assume that a temp contract is always a temp contract. A verbal indication that there will be a permanent job is worthless really, you need to have something more binding.

FlowerytaleofNewYork Mon 23-Dec-13 11:15:08

If there's not enough work there's not enough work. They may well have genuinely thought they'd be able to offer permanent contracts to some temp staff, but things change. Even if they'd been given permanent contracts they would still have been able to dismiss them by just giving notice for the first two years of their employment anyway, so it would have made no difference.

If they don't have enough work for the permanent staff they currently have, but issued permanent contracts to temps and then had to make permanent staff redundant because of lack of work, they'd be in trouble legally. Can't see what else they could have done? Keep people employed out of the goodness of their heart when they don't need them and can't afford them?

TravellingToad Mon 23-Dec-13 11:24:38

Look if there isn't the work, there isn't the work.

Yes it sucks, but it presumably sucks for M&S too who had forcasted better sales. No one has a crystal ball and no one is "entitled" to a permenant contract after being a temp.

It's not a big deal and it's certainly not worth wishing miserable things on M&S for!

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Mon 23-Dec-13 11:30:37

They were temporary staff. They might have been under the impression it would lead to full time work but until it actually does you should always be wary and not get your hopes up. It's awful but if there's no longer the need for the temps, that's the way it has to be.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Mon 23-Dec-13 11:31:29

And the people who just walked out have done themselves no favours whatsoever.

edamsavestheday Mon 23-Dec-13 11:34:51

M&S shouldn't have promised there would be permanent contracts available for everyone. They have treated their temp staff very badly indeed, and used their lies to persuade people to work overtime. Not surprised people are upset.

Yadda yadda yadda there isn't enough work so there aren't any jobs - M&S presumably KNEW this was a possibility, so why did they make promises they had no intention of keeping?

glasgowsteven Mon 23-Dec-13 11:42:25

It's not a big deal and it's certainly not worth wishing miserable things on M&S for

all they had to say was

"this is a permanent contract, dont get any ideas about it becoming a permanent one, that is unlikely...."

glasgowsteven Mon 23-Dec-13 11:44:25

And the people who just walked out have done themselves no favours whatsoever

You want a reference, you put HR, M and S head office.

The reference will state

Name, dates employed, position.

Very few big companies give anymore than what is called a basic disclosure reference, as they do not want anything postive or negative to be taken from what was written or implied....

glasgowsteven Mon 23-Dec-13 11:45:07

"this is a temp contract, dont get any ideas about it becoming a permanent one, that is unlikely...."

DamnBamboo Mon 23-Dec-13 11:47:45

*You want a reference, you put HR, M and S head office.

The reference will state

Name, dates employed, position.

Very few big companies give anymore than what is called a basic disclosure reference, as they do not want anything postive or negative to be taken from what was written or implied....*

Of course, this is how it is. However, should work become available at this M&S it can often be the case that previous temps are contacted to see if they would like the work... the people who walked out will no doubt not be contacted... so in that respect, it will have done them no favours.

And there's no point cutting off your nose to spite your face, if you need the work, you take it!

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