Parkgate Marks & Spencer closure date revealed amid claims staff are being "forced out"

LONG-serving staff are being “forced out” by Marks and Spencer, it was claimed this week, as the retailer revealed the closure day for its Parkgate store.

M&S announced in January it was consulting with its 79 staff over the possible closure of 17 of its 1,043 stores.

The retail giant confirmed this week it will officially shut the branch at Parkgate Shopping on May 4 — meaning around 90 per cent of staff jobs will be moved to stores in Meadowhall, Barnsley or the M&S Foodhall at Cortonwood.

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It came as an upset Parkgate employee said some staff were being put on unreasonable new contracts involving long commutes.

“One woman has to walk 15 minutes to get a bus then another half an hour walk down a duel carriageway first thing in the morning — leaving home at 5am to start at Cortonwood for 6.30am,” said the woman, who did not want to be named.

“They are also making a 70-year-old go to (work at) Meadowhall. 

“Another woman is a single parent and they’ve given her hours that are not appropriate as she can’t leave her child alone in the evening.”

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The woman added: “One staff member has been there over 40 years and they have given her Doncaster — she doesn’t even drive.”

The disgruntled employee, who has worked at the store for more than 20 years, said there was confusion over why the store was closing and claimed staff had been told the Parkgate store had made “just under £11 million” last year.

“We were (in) the first generation of retail park(s) and obviously we are not big enough for them now, they want a full clothing range in each store and it would cost them £1.5 million to refurbish Parkgate,” she said.

“The other stores are bigger and they are overstaffing them now, which forces people to leave as they don’t like the contracts. It means they don’t have to pay for redundancies.

“They are just forcing you out.”

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A spokeswoman for M&S said they could not discuss individual contracts but would never expect employees to undertake “unreasonable journeys” to work.

She added: “People are at the heart of M&S — we don’t want the good people to leave the company. 

“The vast majority, around 90 per cent, will be staying with M&S and moving to nearby stores.”

Store income and profitability would not be disclosed, she added.

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