Barbour jacket
Image Source: Robert Sheie
Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

Further strike action at Barbour’s Gateshead warehouse

Staff at Gateshead clothing company Barbour have begun a four week strike in relation to pay and working hours.

The strike will see members of Unite at the firm’s warehouse are walking out between 07:30 and 13:00 GMT Monday to Friday from 5 to 30 January.

Contractual changes requiring staff to work until 22:30 and removing extra payment for unsocial hours sparked the strike, as proposed shift patterns would be 07:00 to 15:00 and 14:30 to 22:30.

Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown told the BBC: “Many of the workers struggling to get by on less than the living wage are the sole bread winner and have family or caring responsibilities.

“The company should not underestimate the resolve of the workforce nor the impact that four weeks of strike action will have on supplies.”

Managing director, Steve Buck, told ITV: “Barbour has over 600 employees in the North East and in the last few years, we have created over 150 new jobs in the region as we’ve grown to become a brand that now operates in the worldwide marketplace.

“In order to compete as a brand on this international scale, we need to evolve with modern day working practices that are common in the industry in order to remain competitive and meet expanding customer demand.

“This is why we need to introduce shift patterns that are commonplace in warehousing. These shift patterns, negotiated with the union, incorporate two shifts, covering a time period between 7am and 10.30pm.

“We have offered a generous 10% pay increase to move to this new way of working, which offers warehouse staff a higher rate of income for every hour that they work.

“Many of our staff members are supportive of this and everyone has had time to plan and consider the shift changes since being notified of the proposals in May last year. Any changes will come into effect at the end of March this year.

“It is hugely regrettable that this small number of union members have decided to take this divisive action and we will continue to work hard to resolve this during the consultation period.”

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