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
The Commons Treasury select committee should investigate who are ‘the winners and losers’ in the jobs market, Unite, the country’s largest union, said in the wake of today’s (Wednesday 17 September) unemployment figures.
Unite said that the rosy picture painted by ministers masked the true nature of unemployment in the UK, such as the growing number of people ‘forced’ into so-called self-employment to get off benefits.
“We would urge the Treasury select committee to hold hearings to investigate who are the winners and losers in this so-called recovery as it is neither as clear cut, nor as rosy as the government likes to portray.
“There are serious questions to be asked whether we are on the road to recovery, bearing in mind there are 4.5 million self-employed, the widespread and insidious use of zero hours’ contracts, and with hundreds of thousands of young people losing hope of a future with a decent job.
“We should not forget that, in this week alone, nearly 12,000 jobs are under threat at Phones 4U and Birmingham City Council.
“A key area for MPs to investigate should be the long term trends and changes to the UK labour market and who is benefitting or not, and whether these changes are desirable for the future economic health of the nation’s workforce.
“Unite would be willing to give evidence to such an investigation by MPs.
“Unite believes that Britain’s workers need a pay rise to generate economic activity, make workers and their families more secure and to lift thousands out of reliance on benefits.”
Commenting on last month’s employment figures, Unite said that the British economy was in a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ situation.
Source – Welfare News Service, 17 Sept 2014