Emma and Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn joined staff from Barbour at a Unite rally at the company’s HQ today (Friday 9 January), to urge the company’s management to negotiate a deal over changes to workers’ pay and hours.
Staff say that the changes would require them to work shifts running as late as 10.30pm, without extra pay for unsocial hours. They warn that this will be difficult for staff with family and caring responsibility, and also a safety concern for female staff travelling home at night from the industrial estate where the warehouse is located.
The dispute has continued into the New Year, after over 100 staff went on strike in December.
Emma and Stephen met with Barbour’s management to urge them to continue to negotiate a solution. A meeting is planned with Unite, Barbour and ACAS this coming Monday, and it is hoped an agreement can be reached.
“It’s disappointing that the negotiations haven’t managed to avoid strike action. Barbour staff have understandable concerns about the changes to their working hours, and I hope that both sides will be able to reach a settlement that addresses these.
“Stephen and I had a very constructive meeting with the management at Barbour, and it’s clear that all sides do want to agree a fair deal. We will be doing everything we can as the local MPs to help them achieve that.”