Striking workers at a top clothing brand will today vote on whether to continue their walk-out after crunch talks.
Staff at Barbour are in the second week of industrial action in a dispute over contractual changes which would require employees to work more late nights and early mornings as part of a new two shift system.
But yesterday, Acas talks between union chiefs and the firm’s bosses were described as “constructive” and union members will be balloted on a new offer today.
A spokeswoman for Barbour said:
“Following constructive talks at Acas today, Barbour, which has been subject to industrial action by a number of its warehouse staff, has said progress has been made. Union members will be balloted on the offer.
“The need to implement a two shift system in the warehouses reflects the continued growth and expansion of the business.”
The company, which has its headquarters in Barbour House, South Shields, told employees about the shift changes in May last year, affecting three warehouses which employ 180 people.
The industrial action involves two warehouses, and of the 160 people employed in those, 65 are union members.
Workers first walked out for six days in December, before striking again from last Monday and holding a rally outside Barbour House.
Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown attended yesterday’s meeting, having called for staff not to be forced unfairly into working unsociable hours.
“We will hold a union meeting in the morning to discuss the company’s offer with members.
“Progress was made and this is positive, given that it was a difficult decision for our members to stand out in picket lines in the coldest temperatures of the winter.”
On Friday, local MPs Stephen Hepburn and Emma Lewell-Buck were invited to the Barbour headquarters to be briefed on the dispute and to help find a resolution.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 13 Jan 2015