The retail company was criticised yesterday by Labour, which accused “unscrupulous employers” of choosing cheaper foreign workers over local British candidates to save money.
However, Next, and the supermarket giant, Tesco, rejected the attack from the shadow Home Office minister, Chris Bryant, and insisted that they tried “incredibly hard” to recruit locally.
The front bench MP is responsible for strengthening Labour’s immigration policy, an area that has been seen as a weakness in the past.
In his speech today, Mr Bryant will promise to tighten immigration rules to combat the “epidemic” of sham marriages in south-eastern England.
In extracts released ahead of his speech, Mr Bryant accused Next of printing leaflets in Polish to attract hundreds of workers from the country.
A spokesman for Next said the company hired Polish agency workers to help manage the “short burst of activity” during the chain’s popular summer sale.
“Mr Bryant wrongly claims that Polish workers are used to save money,” the spokesman said. “This is simply not true. In fact agency workers from Poland cost us exactly the same as local agency workers, and our existing employees.
“The only reason we seek the help of people from Poland is that we simply can’t recruit enough local people to satisfy these spikes in demand for temporary work.”
In his speech today, Mr Bryant is due to say that the negative effects of migration on job opportunities were a problem for both “migrants and settled communities alike”.
“It is unfair that unscrupulous employers whose only interest seems to be finding labour as cheaply as possible will recruit workers in large numbers in low-wage countries in the EU, bring them to the UK, charge the costs of their travel and their substandard accommodation against their wages and still not even meet the national minimum wage,” he is due to say.
“That is unfair. It exploits migrant workers and it makes it impossible for settled workers with mortgages and a family to support at British prices to compete.”
He also mistakenly stated that Tesco was moving its distribution centre from Kent, when in fact it was formerly in Essex, and hiring cheaper foreign employees.
A spokesman for Tesco said Mr Bryant was “wrong”, adding: “We work incredibly hard to recruit from the local area, and have just recruited 350 local people to work in our Dagenham site.”
Mr Bryant will warn that border officials are struggling to tackle the rise in sham marriages. Currently, the Home Office and the UK Border Agency has only 15 days to take action against suspected sham marriages. Labour will propose extending this to 90 days.
Mr Bryant will also warn that a new system aimed at protecting the UK from nuclear terrorism has not been activated because the Government is yet to sign a contract.
The scanners, designed to detect nuclear fissile material, have not been switched on.
See on www.telegraph.co.uk