Call for Dame Margaret Barbour to intervene in strike dispute

Barbour warehouse staff picketing outside Beacon House, Follingsby Park, at the start of a three week strike.
Barbour warehouse staff picketing outside Beacon House, Follingsby Park, at the start of a three week strike.

STRIKING workers are to call on Barbour’s chair Dame Margaret Barbour to help resolve a dispute over changes to employees contracts.

A letter is to be handed in to the firm’s headquarters in Simonside, South Shields, tomorrow, following a march by those taking industrial action.

A rally will also be held outside Barbour House.

The march, which will set off from the Tesco car park at 9.30am, comes as Barbour management have agreed to Acas talks on Monday, according to union Unite.

They are calling on Dame Barbour to ensure the company’s management enter the talks in a positive and constructive manner.

Speakers at the rally will include Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

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 Barbour 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 Barbour to intervene and help resolve a dispute which is damaging the Barbour brand.”

January’s four week stoppage by the Gateshead based workers started on Monday 5 January and follows six days of strike action in December in a row over contracts.

Members of Unite are unhappy at changes in their contracts, which, they say, will see the removal of unsocial hours payments and the requirement to work until 11pm.

However, 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.