TUC Conference: Employment: M&S poses UK jobs threat

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The Independent Online
MARKS & SPENCER is in danger of turning into "Marks & Sharks" for urging its suppliers to make more of their goods abroad to keep costs and prices down, a delegate warned the TUC Congress yesterday.

Because the company set the benchmark for other retailers, up to 100,000 jobs were at risk, said Sheila Bearcroft of the GMB general union.

The company used to boast that 90 per cent of its goods were British- made. But now, Ms Bearcroft said, the proportion had dropped to 70 per cent and was set to decline further now that the retailer had told its 15 top suppliers that they may have to use more cheap, foreign labour. "Marks & Spencer is rightly famous for selling quality British goods. It will rightly be called Marks & Sharks if it sells British jobs down the river," she said.

A spokesman for the retailer said it was essential that suppliers remained "profitable and progressive"."If we allowed M&S to become less competitive then the impact on the British clothing and textile industry really would be disastrous."

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