Clarks agrees to mediation in fire-and-rehire strike
Shoe retailer Clarks has agreed to allow mediators to help resolve a strike at its warehouse in Street, Somerset.
The conciliation service Acas confirmed that it is in contact with the company and the union about arranging talks.
Staff at the warehouse have been on strike since 4 October over pay and conditions. Clarks wants the workers to accept new contracts, which would cut pay for a number of long-serving employees.
The Community union, which represents the strikers, says Clarks is using the controversial “fire and rehire” tactics, where a company dismisses workers and re-employs them on less favourable contracts.
An Acas spokesperson said: “Acas is in touch with both sides involved in the Clarks dispute to work towards having talks as soon as possible.”
Conciliation is a dispute resolution process held by an independent, neutral third party. Acas says nine out of 10 workplace disputes can be resolved this way.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the trade union confirmed that it had been approached by Acas and agreed immediately to meet with them and Clarks. “If reports are correct and the company have agreed to meet with us and Acas we look forwards to entering the process,” they said.
“We are hopeful that we can come to a resolution that works in everybody’s interests, protects our members livelihoods and recognises their loyalty to the company.”
Last week Clarks improved its proposal to all affected employees by 5.6% to £10.03 per hour.
This would still represent a pay cut for long-standing workers, who say they stand to lose out by as much as 20%.
Community says that between 120 to 230 workers are taking part in the strike, though Clarks says the true number is lower.
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