Tagged: Wardley

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

 

Crunch talks over North East jobs at City Link parcel company

Crunch talks are taking place today in a bid to save hundreds of North jobs following the collapse of parcel delivery firm City Link.

Union officials from the RMT are meeting the company’s administrators Ernst and Young (EY) in the hope they can hammer out a deal to prevent nearly 3,000 job losses, including those at its branches at Belmont in County Durham, Wardley in Gateshead and Carlisle in Cumbria.

The move comes after City Link announced –  on Christmas Day – that it is going into administration after years of “substantial losses.”

The union claims the company employes hundreds of people in the North East, although exactly how many is not yet known.

It has branded the move “truly devastating” for the region’s economy.

Officials are to meet in Leeds this afternoon to discuss the fate of the firm’s 2,727 staff, and union bosses have vowed to stay in talks for as long as it takes to salvage jobs.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:

“RMT’s objective now is to do everything we can to rescue jobs in the wake of the shock collapse into administration of City Link on Christmas Day.

“Despite the festive season there can be no delays in getting on with the rescue programme and we expect the government through Vince Cable to take an active role right now.

“The thousands of workers caught in the middle of this crisis deserve full support from every quarter.”

The union has demanded “urgent talks” with business secretary Mr Cable and said it is disappointed the minister has only pledged to meet them in the new year.

Coventry-based City Link, which is understood to have counted John Lewis among its largest clients, expects numerous redundancies after no buyer could be found to bail it out.

The RMT said it believed there may have been “more cynical motives” behind the decision to “delay” the announcement until Christmas Day and demanded an investigation.

A spokesman for the union in the North said:

“Hundreds of jobs will be placed at risk in the North East and this will be truly devastating for the economy.”

City Link operations have been suspended at all its depots until Monday, when customers and those expecting deliveries will be able to collect their parcels.

Investment firm Better Capital, led by veteran venture capitalist Jon Moulton, bought the courier group for just £1 in April last year from the previous owner, pest control firm Rentokil.

A number of staff will be retained to help return parcels to customers and help with winding down the company, EY said.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 27 Dec 2014

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