STRIKING warehouse workers at one of South Tyneside’s biggest employers have called on the firm’s chairman to step in and resolve the dispute.
The Unite union wants Dame Margaret Barbour to get involved in a dispute over changes to workers’ contracts.
Staff at J Barbour and Sons’ warehouse in Gateshead began a planned four-week strike on Monday.
Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown said: “Barbour’s actions run contrary to the family values the company says it holds dear.
“We hope that Dame Margaret listens to the workers’ concerns and ensures that the company’s management enters Monday’s talks in a constructive manner.
“Workers have shown through their solid support for the strike that they are prepared to stand firm to get a just settlement. Management should be under no illusion of the workforce’s resolve, and we urge Dame Margaret to intervene and help resolve a dispute which is damaging the Barbour brand.”
Workers at the warehouse, in Wardley, are unhappy at changes to their contracts which, they say, will see the removal of unsocial hours payments and the addition of a requirement to work until 11pm.
The company says the new proposed shift pattern would be from 7am to 3pm, and 2.30pm to 10.30pm, and that the deal offers workers substantial pay rises.
A letter is due to be handed in today to the firm’s headquarters, Barbour House, in Simonside, South Shields, following a march by strikers and a rally.
January’s four-week stoppage by Gateshead-based staff started on Monday, January 5, and, according to Unite, is due to go to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service on Monday.