Thousands of workers are set to converge on west London today, to take part in a mass rally protesting against Marks and Spencer's (M&S) plans to close the 39 stores that comprise its Continental operations.

In March, the struggling high street retailer announced that the closures would take place so that the company can concentrate on its UK operations. British and French unions argue that the company violated French law however, in failing to consult workers on the decision before it was announced. This belief was upheld in a court case in Paris last month, where the judge ordered M&S to postpone the closure of its 18 French stores.

People from all over Europe plan to meet in London, and hand a letter of complaint to the company's CEO and chairman Luc Vandevelde at the M&S headquarters in Baker Street, before embarking on a march through the city centre and converging for a rally in Hyde Park.

The closure plans will result in the loss of over 4,000 jobs, and John Monks, general secretary of the Trade Union Council, commented: "We call on governments throughout Europe, including our own, to support new information and consultation rights for people at work so redundancies don't come out of the blue.

"Our message to M&S today is take your redundancies back."

In a statement, the company responded saying, "M&S understands the strength of feeling of our staff in continental Europe. [But] we have, for the sake of the whole business, to stem the losses in our continental European stores - nearly £100m in the past three years."

A spokeswoman added that company management would not be prepared to meet with union representatives during the demonstration.