Tagged: J Barbour & Sons

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

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

Support The Barbour Workers

Durham Community Support Centre

Support The Barbour Workers March This Friday!
Friday 9th of January

A march and rally will be held at Bede’s Industrial Estate, South Shields, NE32 3HF on Friday 9th January 2015.

We hope to gather members at 9.20am at the Tesco car park on the edge of the estate and march to Barbour House to hold a rally and deliver a petition to Dame Margaret Barbour basically telling her our members have no confidence in her management team to deal with this dispute and we would like her to meet with the members direct to understand at first-hand what their concerns are.  Stephen Hepburn MP for Jarrow and Emma Lewell-Buck MP for South Shields (where Barbour House HQ is situated) will be in attendance and they will be saying a few words on the day to the members.  Also Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary will be in attendance to speak…

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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