Wax jacket maker Barbour is facing a four-week strike by its warehouse staff in Gateshead, following forced changes to their contracts, according to Britain’s largest union, Unite.

The union, which represents the workers, states that the heritage brand is removing the unsocial hours payment and the introduction of a requirement to work until 11pm at night, with workers facing the sack if they don’t sign up to the new contracts by January 30.

The three week strike started today, January 5, following a six-day stoppage earlier in December, and will see Unite members striking from 7.30am to 1pm Monday to Friday, until January 30, which the union states could hit deliveries of its clothes to department stores including Harrods, Harvey Nichols and John Lewis.

According to Unite's head of media and campaigns, Alex Flynn, around 70 members from the 130-strong workforce were prepared to strike, if the union could not reach a negotiated settlement with the 120-year-old family-owned company.

Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown said: “Barbour’s sign or be sacked ultimatum is bullying and anti-family. Many of the workers struggling to get by on less than the living wage are the sole bread winner and have family or caring responsibilities.

“For a company that prides itself on ‘family values’ to seek to rail road through cuts and unsocial changes to their contracts is hypocrisy of the highest order. The company should not underestimate the resolve of the workforce nor the impact that four weeks of strike action will have on supplies.”


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