Gateshead Barbour staff accept new deal from bosses after being re-ballotted

Barbour staff have accepted a new deal from their bosses after being re-balloted on the offer of a shorter working week.

Workers at the clothing firm’s Gateshead-based warehouse went on strike earlier this month over the introduction of a two-shift system.

The industrial action came to an end last week after the company agreed to offer increases in pay and day shift working for those with family and caring responsibilities.

However members of the Unite union were re-balloted on Monday over an offer of a shorter working week.

Unite said its members were concerned about the deal and had proposed staff work for 37.5 hours a week, instead of 39 hours, and bank around 78 hours which would be worked off during the firm’s busiest periods of the year.

However bosses at Barbour said the additional hours offer was never on the table, and union members have now agreed to a 37.5 hour contract, with no additional working during peak times.

Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown said:

“There was another ballot on a revised offer from the company and members have agreed to a 37.5 hour contract.

“There will be no banked hours which would have been worked during the firm’s busiest period.

“With a heavy heart, our members have decided to work fewer hours and thus have a cut in wages. The members are going to be losing 78 hours worth of payments through the year.”

Brenda Readman-Bell, IT and finance director at the firm, said: “We are pleased the latest ballot of the workforce by the union on a shorter working week has been accepted.

“When this condition was put on the table last week by the union we agreed to incorporate it into the final deal for an acceptance of a two shift system in the warehouse from April 2015.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 19 Jan 2015

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