Workers at one of South Tyneside’s longest-established firms are set to walk out in a row over new contracts.
Warehouse staff at the clothing firm J Barbour and Sons will embark on a four-week strike action from Monday.
The action is being taken by members of the Unite union who are unhappy at changes to their contracts which, they say, will see the removal of unsocial hours payments, and the requirement to work until 11pm.
The company says the new proposed shift pattern would be 7am to 3pm and 2.30pm to 10.30pm, but no one was available to comment on the industrial action.
The dispute centres on the firm’s warehouses in Wardley, Gateshead, and involves 134 of its 600 North East workers.
The three-week strike follows a six-day stoppage in the run-up to Christmas.
Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown said:
“Many of the workers struggling to get by on less than the living wage and are the sole breadwinner with family or caring responsibilities.
“For a company that prides itself on ‘family values’ to seek to railroad through cuts and unsocial changes to contracts is hypocrisy of the highest order.
“The company should not underestimate the resolve of the workforce or the impact that four weeks of strike action will have on supplies.
“Barbour management need to negotiate a fair deal for its workforce.”
Barbour has been a successful family-run company for 120 years and its famous wax jackets are a favourite with showbusiness stars and the British Royal Family.
The threat of strike action has been a rarity for Barbour.
In November, 2007, industrial action was narrowly averted after machinists accepted an improved 4.1 per cent pay increase.
Source – Shields Gazette, 30 Dec 2014