Gateshead : Barbour faces ‘damaging’ Christmas strike

Warehouse staff at  clothing firm, J Barbour & Sons, based at Monks Way, on the Bede Trading Estate in Jarrow, are due to walk out tomorrow until  next Tuesday in a dispute over new working hours.

As the company is due to close down from Christmas Eve, the striking staff will not return to work until Monday, December 29.

The dispute centres on the firm’s warehouses in Wardley, Gateshead, and involves 134 of its 600 North East workers.

Workers who are members of the Unite trade union will be out in force at the warehouses from tomorrow in support of action against changes to shift patterns, incorporating later working until 10.30pm, which staff claim is not “family friendly”.

A source for the strikers said:

“The company is trying to change contracts to include working until 10.30pm. They promote themselves as family-friendly but this change will mean that working parents will be saying goodbye to their children one morning and not seeing them until the following morning.

“A lot of employees don’t have their own transport and will have no way of getting home that late at night. The employees have also received a letter this week stating that they are damaging the business by their actions.”

The two warehouses will be manned by non-trade union workers over the course of the dispute with the company pledging to “minimise any disruption”.

The proposed new warehouse working hour patterns are 7am to 3pm and 2.30pm to 10.30pm.

Source –  Shields Gazette,  17 Dec 2014

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