Barbour warehouse staff to strike over new shift patterns

Barbour Khaki Waxed Camouflage Bedale Jacket

Workers at the company that makes outdoor jackets for the Queen are to begin a four-week strike at its Gateshead warehouse from Monday.

The Unite union said 70 workers at the Barbour warehouse would go on strike in a dispute over pay and hours.

Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown said: “We were hoping the company would come back to the negotiating table but unfortunately they haven’t. With a heavy heart, we have decided our workers will be on the picket line at 7.30am on Monday morning.”

She accused Barbour of making no effort to reach a settlement, following a four-day walkout in December.

The maker of the corduroy-collared waxed jackets favoured by the hunting, shooting and fishing set, has seen sales boom after the likes of Kate Moss and Lily Allen were pictured wearing Barbours. In 2012, the company made £18m profits on turnover of £137m.

According to Unite, the company wants to introduce new contracts that would require workers to do shifts finishing at 11pm, while scrapping extra pay for antisocial hours.

Unite is calling on the company to allow those with caring responsibilities or transport problems to be allowed to continue working a day shift at the industrial estate. The workers pack Barbour clothes that are sent to high-end department stores across the UK and around the world.

Barbour did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but has previously said it was offering a “substantial pay increase” for the move to new shift patterns, which were necessary to satisfy customer demand.

But Hussain-Brown accused the company of not negotiating ahead of a 30 January deadline, when workers have been told they must sign the contracts or face the sack. She said the striking workers faced a month without pay to make a stand for their rights: “It is a bold and brave decision that our members have had to take.”

Powered by article was written by Jennifer Rankin, for The Guardian on Friday 2nd January 2015 18.36 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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