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Issue #1559      8 August 2012

A bit rich

Workers at Britain’s official Olympic clothes supplier are on the warpath over poverty wages as low as £2.60 [A$3.85] an hour at the firm.

Its boss gloated after revealing bumper profits for the first six months of 2012 – and predicted they’d hit £575 million [A$852m] to £620m [A$920m] by the year’s end.

That’s £10m-15m more than previous estimates with the difference put down to the manufacturer and retailer’s high profile supplying Team GB’s suits and those of thousands of support staff at the Games.

On its website Next boasts that “Everyone at Next is thrilled to be playing a very special part in the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.”

But its workers beg to differ and union GMB rounded on austerity-loving Next boss Simon Wolfson after he declared, despite the evidence, that Britain is not in recession.

Lord Wolfson is reported to take home around £800,000 a year – over £3,000 a working day – but his employees are on rock-bottom wages.

GMB reported that Next had advertised for £2.60-an-hour apprenticeship posts, £4.42-an-hour warehouse jobs for 16- to 17-year-olds and store work for £4.98. For over-21s it offers a mean £6.08 – the national minimum wage.

The union is demanding living wage rates of £7.20 an hour, rising to £8.30 in London.

GMB regional secretary Paul Maloney said, “Wolfson’s own employees cannot afford to shop in his stores given that he pays them so badly.

“That shows how far capitalism has moved from Henry Ford who wanted his employees to be paid enough to buy his cars.”

Morning Star  

Next article – Greek steelworkers fight on

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