Warehouse staff working for clothing firm Barbour in Wardsley, Gateshead, have gone on strike over proposed changes to working hours. The staff, members of Unite, are taking industrial action on 18, 19, 22 and 23 December over plans to impose new shift arrangements which would mean working until 11 at night. Further strikes are planned for January 5 and 6.
Workers there argue the changed shift patterns would have an impact on childcare and travel arrangements, as the warehouse in Follingsby Park is out of the way and a distance from public transport links, making it very difficult for employees without their own car. Unite says the changes were designed to put staff on similar terms to temporary workers.
The company says the changes come with a “substantial” pay increase that turns out to be to 55p an hour, but with fewer working hours. It wants to bank the lost hours and ask workers to work them whenever it deems fit. The Unite members fear the company will ask them to work weekends for no extra money.