Tagged: Striking workers

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