Tagged: Fazia Hussain-Brown

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

Striking Gateshead Barbour workers to vote on new offer from company

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.

She said:

“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

Call for Dame Margaret Barbour to intervene in strike dispute

Barbour warehouse staff picketing outside Beacon House, Follingsby Park, at the start of a three week strike.

Striking workers are to call on Barbour’s chair Dame Margaret Barbour to help resolve a dispute over changes to employees contracts.

A letter is to be handed in to the firm’s headquarters in Simonside, South Shields, tomorrow, following a march by those taking industrial action.

A rally will also be held outside Barbour House.

The march, which will set off from the Tesco car park at 9.30am, comes as Barbour management have agreed to Acas talks on Monday, according to union Unite.

They are calling on Dame Barbour to ensure the company’s management enter the talks in a positive and constructive manner.

Speakers at the rally will include Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown said:

Barbour’s actions run contrary to the family values the company says it holds dear. We hope that Dame Barbour listens to the workers’ concerns and ensures that the company’s management enters Monday’s talks in a constructive manner.

“Workers have shown through their solid support for the strike that they are prepared to stand firm to get a just settlement.

“Management should be under no illusion of the workforce’s resolve and we urge Dame Margaret Barbour to intervene and help resolve a dispute which is damaging the Barbour brand.”

January’s four week stoppage by the Gateshead based workers started on Monday 5 January and follows six days of strike action in December in a row over contracts.

Members of Unite are unhappy at changes in their contracts, which, they say, will see the removal of unsocial hours payments and the requirement to work until 11pm.

However, the company, says the new proposed shift pattern would be from 7am to 3pm, and 2.30pm to 10.30pm, and that the deal offers workers substantial pay rises.

Source – Shields Gazette,  08 Jan 2015

Strike action kicks off against South Tyneside based clothing firm Barbour

Factory workers have kicked off four weeks of strike action in a row over contracts proposed by a South Tyneside based clothing firm.

Warehouse staff at the clothing firm J Barbour and Sons had hoped the start of the new year would bring fresh negotiations to avoid industrial action.

However, according to Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown no communication has been forthcoming and workers took their place on the picket line, yesterday.

The row 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, and 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.

Source – Shields Gazette, 05 Jan 2015

Gateshead : Barbour staff set for four-week strike

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