Barbour has avoided any further industrial action by agreeing to reduce the working week of its warehouse staff by 1.5 hours.
As reported by Drapers, around 70 employees were re-balloted today (January 19) over the new terms, which were put forward by Barbour last week after one week of a proposed month-long strike.
Despite returning to their posts last week following the new terms, which included a 10% pay rise, only working until 10.30pm and a shuttle bus to local public transport, Unite official Fazia Hussain-Brown told Drapers that staff had been “duped” in the agreement, which led to the re-ballot.
She explained that, as well as working until 10:30pm as part of a two-shift system, employees are required to work an additional hour per day during an unspecified 22-week “peak” period. Employees were initially entitled to take this time back. However, the union claimed Barbour included a clause that would allow it to control when this occurred.
Subsequent talks resolved the matter. In place of taking the time back, staff will work 1.5 hours less per week all year and they will also be paid time and a half during overtime in the peak period.
Barbour IT and finance director Brenda Readman-Bell said: “We are pleased the latest ballot of the workforce by the union on a shorter working week has been accepted. When this condition was put on the table last week by the union we agreed to incorporate it into the final deal for an acceptance of a two-shift system in the warehouse from April 2015.”
Unite said it will now focus on working with Barbour to ensure those with family or caring responsibilities are prioritised for the day shifts, an offer that will only be extended to 10 of the 70 employees.