Anger as Next offers jobs to Polish people first

Emma Woollacott
Next store
Next store

Christmas jobs at Next are being advertised in Poland weeks ahead of the UK, a former employee has revealed.

Paul Crowcroft told the Mirror that Polish workers were being brought in to fill the minimum wage posts in the Yorkshire and Humber region - where local unemployment is high.

"They would suddenly turn up in busloads, seven coaches at a time. They were bringing in them every day by minibus from places like Wakefield and Doncaster.

"They were happy on the money because they got so little working back home in Poland. They were on the minimum wage. They weren't getting as much as us full-time employees," he said.

"The Poles were being exploited but they didn't seem to mind because they were getting more money here than they would have done at home."

The work pays the minimum wage, just £6.50 an hour. And, according to the GMB union, this simply isn't enough for British workers to live on.

"Less than £10 an hour means just existing not living. It means a life of isolation, unable to socialise. It means a life of constant anxiety over paying bills and of borrowing from friends, family and pay day loan sharks just to make ends meet," says national officer for retail staff Mick Rix.

"Next says that it is over-subscribed when offering jobs. This is a reflection on the level of youth unemployment across Europe not that Next jobs are so good."

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Number of Romanian and Bulgarian Workers Dips
Number of Romanian and Bulgarian Workers Dips

The work is being advertised on Polish jobs site Flamejobs - but not on the English language section of the site. Flamejobs then lays on buses from Warsaw to the UK at £100 a head, and finds the staff cheap places to live.

Next says it currently has around 250 Polish workers, and says it advertises in Poland first as the recruitment process takes longer than with British workers.

The company's come under fire before for favouring Eastern European workers over Brits. Along with Tesco, it was described as an "unscrupulous employer" by shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant last summer.

Earlier this year, David Cameron promised to ban agencies from advertising British jobs only to foreign workers. But in a speech on immigration this morning he praised migrant workers.

"The great majority of those who come here from Europe come to work, work hard and pay their taxes," he said.

"They contribute to our country. They are willing to travel across the continent in search of a better life for them and their families. Many of them come just for a short period – a year or two – before returning home."

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