Britain’s largest union, Unite, accused the maker of the world famous Barbour jacket of spiteful Scrooge like behaviour following threats to ban striking workers from the company’s Christmas party.
The workers based in Gateshead at J Barbour and Sons Ltd are starting a six day strike today (Thursday 17 December) over forced changes to their contracts which includes the removal of the unsocial hours payment while introducing a requirement to work until 23:00.
The workers are angry over the company’s attacks on their terms and conditions designed to put them on similar terms to temporary workers and a total disregard of the impact the changes will have on workers with caring responsibilities.
Accusing the company of hypocrisy, the workers pointed to Barbour’s mission statement to build a business honouring ‘family values’ and its core values of building ‘effective working relationships’ based on ‘respect’ while supporting workers to work ‘collectively towards common goals.’
The Unite members will be striking from 07:30 to 13:00 hours today and on Friday 19, Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 December as well as Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 January.
Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown said: “The spiteful behaviour of Barbour to ban workers taking industrial action from their Christmas party sums the company’s attitude up.
“Staff have worked hard to make the Barbour brand a global success and feel betrayed by the attacks on terms and conditions which are designed to squeeze out yet more profit.
“They are actions that Scrooge would be proud of and show a total disregard for people with caring responsibilities. Barbour needs to enter the Christmas spirit and negotiate a fair deal for its workforce.”
For further information please contact Fazia Hussain-Brown on 07904 057921 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.