Marks & Spencer has sacked an employee who leaked to the press details of its plan to reduce redundancy packages. Whistleblower Tony Goode was dismissed for gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing, but his union is refusing the let the matter lie. The GMB said it would launch a public campaign to secure justice and has already hosted a press conference with Goode at the TUC annual conference, where M&S was accused of conducting ‘intense surveillance’ on its own staff.
Heavily covered in all the nationals, with the accusation that M&S monitored the whistleblower’s calls from his personal mobile phone receiving particular attention. M&S itself has tried to keep a relatively low profile, combating the specific accusations and clarifying its position through a number of statements.
Who are the PR players here?
M&S uses Tulchan Communications for its City PR, but says that so far all the communications concerning this matter have been led by its in-house communications department. The GMB is pursuing a publicity campaign under its own steam and has pledged to keep the issue in the public eye.
What happens next?
The headlines cannot make pleasant reading for M&S boss Stuart Rose. Under pressure from shareholders himself, the last thing he will want is the narrative of M&S as a corporate bully to stick. But the issue is unlikely to just disappear. Aside from Goode’s appeal, the GMB plans to use the Labour Party conference as a springboard for a demonstration outside M&S’ Deansgate store in Manchester.
25 Number of years Tony Goode worked for M&S