Eight jobs cut at clothing giant Barbour - a year after contract shake-up introduced

Eight jobs have been cut at a South Tyneside clothing giant - less than 18-months after a shake-up on working conditions was brought into force.
Eight workers have taken voluntary redundancy at clothing giant Barbour, based in South Shields.Eight workers have taken voluntary redundancy at clothing giant Barbour, based in South Shields.
Eight workers have taken voluntary redundancy at clothing giant Barbour, based in South Shields.

Warehouse workers launched strike action last January over proposals to bring in new shift patterns at J Barbour and Sons.

The firm, which is based on Simonside Industrial Estate, South Shields, struck a deal with workers at its warehouse in Gateshead a week after a planned month-long walk-out got underway.

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The dispute involved 134 of the company’s 600-strong workforce in the North East.

Members of the Unite union were unhappy over planned changes to their contract which were to see the removal of unsocial hours payments, and a requirement to work until 11pm.

The revamp was proposed to help bring about a change in shift patterns at the warehouse to 7am to 3pm and 2.30pm to 10.30pm, which the company stated would come with a substantial pay rise offer.

After talks between union representatives and Barbour bosses an agreement between all parties was reached.

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Barbour says it has given voluntary redundancy to workers who found it ‘difficult’ to adapt to the new shift patterns introduced.

The company says it has agreed redundancy packages to alow those members of staff to seek alternative employment.

Eight workers left their roles last month, with Barbour now advertising for temporary warehouse operatives on a recruitment agency website.

Management say the temporary staff are being recruited to bolster the existing workforce at times of peak delivery.

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Barbour has become one of the country’s fastest growing fashion labels in recent years, thanks to its range of fitted jackets and coats.

The firm was founded in South Shields in 1894 and now has a a presence in over 40 countries worldwide including the United States and Japan.

Brenda Readman-Bell, Finance and IT Director at Barbour, said; “Eight people took voluntary redundancy from the warehouse in April 2016. Looking after the needs of our staff is extremely important to us and having introduced shift patterns in the warehouse over a year ago, we wanted to give those employees who were finding shift work difficult, an opportunity to seek recruitment elsewhere by offering them voluntary redundancy.

“The recruitment for warehouse workers on the Meridian recruitment site is for temporary warehouse staff.

“There will always be times of peak deliveries when we may need additional staff but these are short term temporary positions.”