PICKETING staff were out in force today as one of South Tyneside’s longest-established firms was hit by rare industrial action.
Warehouse workers at the iconic clothing firm, J Barbour & Sons, based at Monks Way, on the Bede Trading Estate in Jarrow, are on strike until Tuesday in a dispute over new working hours.
And members of the Unite trade union picketed the firm’s warehouses in Wardley, Gateshead, yesterday, where 134 of Barbour’s 600 North East workers are based.
The action is in support of action against changes to shift patterns, incorporating later working until 10.30pm, which staff claim is not “family friendly”.
The warehouses are being manned by non-trade union workers over the course of the dispute, with the company pledging to “minimise any disruption”.
Brenda Readman-Bell, Barbour’s group finance and IT director, has condemned the action, which the company admits is “damaging”.
She said: “We are sorry that union members have decided to take this action but would like to assure all our customers that plans are already in place to minimise any disruption to the business.”