Protesters campaign for a higher wage for Next employees in Havant

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PLACARDS were waved outside a Havant shop this afternoon in protest over low wages.

Members of the GMB union say young people are not being paid enough by home and clothing retailer Next, which has a store in the Solent Retail Park.

Members of the GMB union. protest outside the Next store In Havant.

Members of the GMB union. protest outside the Next store In Havant.

They say that while staff are paid the national minimum wage of £6.19 an hour, it is not enough to live on.

Instead they want to see the minimum Next pays its staff increased to £7.20 an hour.

GMB senior organiser Charles Harrity said: ‘You just can’t live on it. Next can afford to pay more, because they made massive profits this year.

‘Probably we could stand outside a lot of retailers, but Next attracts young people looking to pay their way through college or university.

‘It’s unfair for young people to be treated like this - Next can afford to pay them a living wage.’

The demonstrations have started regionally in the south east, but are spreading nationally as other branches of the GMB union get involved.

The union says Next has nearly 50,000 employees at over 500 stores, call centres and warehouses in the UK and Ireland.

In August, Next advertised jobs for warehouse jobs in Yorkshire for as low as £4.42 per hour which can only be paid to young workers aged 16 and 17.

The retailer was offering £2.60 per hour for apprentices, and advertised jobs in its Epsom store for £4.98 per hour.

While the GMB union accepts Next is not breaking any law, it says more should be paid to Next staff.

Paul Maloney, GMB regional secretary in the South East, said: ‘It is a scandal that Next should be paying minimum wages and that some apprentices are paid £2.60 per hour when they are making such huge profits.

There is no excuse for this absolute greed. Figures published by GMB demonstrate that that Next are amongst the worst offenders in the retail sector for low pay and high profits and there is a link between the two.

GMB call on Next to pay their staff a living wage of £7.20 per hour which they can easily afford and allow their staff a decent quality of life.

‘This would help reflate the economy as well.’

The union said its protests would continue at other Next stores, including the store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

Next was not immediately able to comment on the protest.