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European employment law blocks M&S redundancy plans

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In a decision which is sure to be hotly contested by the company, Marks and Spencer’s has had its plans to close 18 stores in France put on hold.

The High Court in Paris has issued an injunction preventing the current closure plans from being implemented. There is widespread support for the stores from French staff and customers who have been shocked by the sudden closure announcement.

French law requires companies to engage in extensive staff consultations before announcing any redundancies, whereas in the UK such consultation may occur at the same time or after the formal announcement. This move appears to have been unexpected by the beleaguered company.

In a separate development over the past few days, evidence has been produced which purports to show that the European M&S stores may actually have been trading at a profit over the past year, and that losses in the UK stores are greater than has been announced.

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