Overseas staff ‘bussed’ in for shifts at Next

Temporary Christmas jobs at Next’s South Elmsall distribution centre were advertised in Poland two weeks before being made available to local people, a union has claimed.

The GMB union said it was “disgusted” that the company claimed there were not enough local people to fill the positions.

Next admitted recruiting temporary Christmas staff from Poland two weeks before the roles were advertised in the local area but said it was due to extra time needed to complete employment paperwork.

The GMB also claims the company is not paying workers a living wage.

Lisa Johnson, GMB political officer, said: “Next is quite literally bussing in workers to undercut pay, terms and conditions.

“The company earned hundreds of millions of pounds last year yet won’t pay their workers enough to live on.”

The union is holding a protest outside the Elmsall Way distribution centre today.

Ms Johnson added: “We will be presenting Next with a corporate ASBO for failing to pay workers a fair wage and not facing up to its social responsibilities. They’re having us on if they’re saying local people don’t want work.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett has written to Next asking for an explanation. He said: “People may think it is scandalous that Next in South Elmsall should behave in this way.

“Local people have told me they regard it as anti-social behaviour that they advertised abroad before advertising in the UK and are undercutting wages in the UK by paying workers from abroad less than local people.

“They must explain why they are taking valuable jobs away from the 375 young people who are unemployed in the local area.

A Next spokesman said: “Next requires an extra 840 people twice a year – at Christmas and in the summer at the end-of-season sale. It is impossible to recruit 840 short-term workers just from South Elmsall and the surrounding area.

“This year of the 840 workers, 540 have been sourced from the UK and 240 have been sourced from Poland. 100 of those vacancies are still not filled. The Polish workers are paid the exactly the same as British workers.”