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Re-ballot for Barbour warehouse workers

Barbour workers returned to work last week Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Workers who have been involved in strike action at the clothing firm Barbour, are to be re-balloted today.

The staff, who work at a distribution warehouse in Gateshead, returned to work last week after agreeing a deal with management.

Barbour says the workers will be re-balloted on an extension to that agreement, specifically in relation to working hours.

The dispute centred on the introduction of a two-shift system at the warehouse.

Barbour staff return to work

The dispute was over a proposed change to shift times. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Workers at Barbour are due to return to work as usual this morning.

They voted to accept a new offer from the famous clothing company, bringing an end to a planned four week strike. The dispute was over a proposed change to shift times.

Barbour is based in South Shields but the dispute involved staff at a distribution centre in Gateshead.


Barbour workers end strike

Workers at the Barbour distribution centre in Gateshead have ended their industrial action after seven days.

Staff were balloted earlier today and have accepted the deal proposed by the company.

The ballot was the culmination of eight months of negotiation in order to reach an agreement to introduce a two-shift system in the warehouse.

“We are delighted we have reached agreement. The industrial action has been difficult for everyone as we have historically enjoyed very good relations with our staff.

"It is essential we have the flexibility to manage the business to the good of our entire workforce and the acceptance of the new deal is indicative of the company’s determination to be fair in order to achieve this satisfactory outcome for all.”

– Brenda Readman-Bell, Finance and IT Director, J. Barbour & Sons Ltd

Barbour workers to be balloted on new proposals

Workers at Barbour's Gateshead walked out on planned four week strike Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Workers at the Barbour distribution centre in Gateshead are to be balloted on a renewed offer from the firm.

Previously the company wanted to make staff start their shifts at 6.30 am and finish at 11 pm, leading to concerns from workers about public transport and family commitments.

But ITV Tyne Tees has learned that the firm has now offered staff a renewed start time of 7 am with a finish of 10.30 pm.

The union Unite are presently in negotiation with the firm on the revised offer with staff expected to vote on it this afternoon.


Barbour workers to be balloted on new proposal

Workers walked out on planned four week strike Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Striking workers at the Barbour clothing warehouse in Gateshead will be balloted tomorrow on whether to accept a new proposal from the company.

About 70 workers are on a planned four week strike over proposed shift changes which they say would badly affect their family life.

Talks were held today involving the conciliation service ACAS and the company says progress has been made.

Barbour: Strike is 'hugely regrettable'

Clothing manufacturer Barbour says it is very disappointed not to have been able to reach agreement with the union over the introduction of new shift patterns.

It says it's been in consultation with warehouse employees since May 2014 and has done everything possible to resolve their concerns.

Barbour has 160 people working in its warehouse in Follingsby Park, Gateshead. It says, of these, 65 are in the union and of those that voted only 33 wanted strike action. The remaining warehouse staff are still working hard during this time.

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.

– Steve Buck, Managing Director, J Barbour & Sons Ltd
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