STAFF at Marks & Spencer have overwhelmingly rejected cost-cutting measures proposed by management at the British retail chain.
Mandate Trade Union and SIPTU union members vetoed a Labour Court recommendation by an 84pc margin and claimed the measures would "seriously deteriorate" the living standards for workers at the company.
Gerry Light, spokesperson for Mandate Trade Union, said that under the company's plans some employees had been expected to take at least a 20pc pay cut.
Management at Marks & Spencer last year closed a workers' defined benefit pension scheme before securing an agreement, informing staff that their retirement fund was a 'discretionary benefit'.
Mandate Trade Union said that, unlike many defined benefit schemes, the Marks & Spencer scheme was a performing scheme and was in a surplus of approximately €17m.
The company also proposed a number of other cost-saving measures.
Mr Light said that the union was willing to discuss the issues with management at Marks & Spencer but that any negotiations must be "genuine and meaningful".
A spokesperson for Marks & Spencer said it was "very disappointed" with the outcome of the ballot.