Friday, 26 January 2007


Here's an article I wrote for the Socialist....

On Friday November the 24th, Primark opened a new store in Hanley, Stoke on Trent. The 75,000 square foot store employs over 400 staff and is expected to make massive profits over the Christmas period. However I managed to get hold of an ex-Primark worker 'Jane' who turned up to work one day to be told that there was “no more work available.”

“Most of the new staff that were taken on were on temporary contracts until the 20th January. There was also a clause in the contract that said they could fire us at anytime with no notice.”
When asked about management attitudes towards staff she replied, “It was horrible. We were just numbers to them. We were told, in the induction, not to call the management by their first names; only surnames. It was very much like school.” According to another source over 60 staff had walked out of the store, because of the conditions faced there.

Of course, being a retail outlet, Primark are never going to pay anything more than the minimum wage to most of their front line staff, but in an effort to drive down wages and increase profit margins most of the staff taken on were between 16 and 18, the minimum wage for who is only £3.30 an hour. In fact, according to Jane, most of the staff selected to extend their contract were between 16 and 18.

Primark is is owned by the conglomerate Associated British Foods plc, with an annual turn over of almost £6 Billion a year. It's little wounder, when the majority of it's work force work for a shocking £3.30 an hour.

The Socialist party is campaigning for an increase in the minimum wage up to £6 an hour, as a step towards £8, for all workers regardless of age. The minimum wage should be lifting people out of poverty, not pushing people into it. A real increase in the minimum wage, to a living wage like £8 an hour would go along way to alleviating the hardships and poverty that millions of people have to face in the worlds 4th richest country.


Phil BC said...

Good stuff my maniacal musical friend/fiend.

What struck me about Primark is they have the affront to claim their minimum-wage donkey work is a great opportunity for us Potters!

Renegade Eye said...

Good post.

More than minimum wage is needed.