Clarks in union dispute over use of agency workers
Clarks is reportedly in a dispute with a trade union over the alleged use of agency workers to cover strikers at its warehouse in Somerset.
Controversial “fire and rehire” tactics are at the centre of a dispute at Clarks’ warehouse in Street, Somerset, where staff have been on strike since 4 October.
Today (10 November), the BBC reported that the Community Union, which represents the workers on strike, has complained to the government over the alleged use of agency workers to cover strikers. Using agency workers to cover strikers is understood to be illegal.
Speaking to the BBC, Clarks confirmed it is using agency workers, but said they are not covering the roles of the strikers.
A Clarks spokesman, said: “Right throughout this period of industrial action, Clarks has been acting according to the law. Clarks is not using agency workers to cover employees who are on strike.
Clarks continues to be in regular communication with Community and since the start Clarks has offered to make details of agency worker numbers available to them to provide reassurance. “
A Community Union spokesman, said: “We are continuing to investigate further wrongdoing and will appeal this with the relevant agencies wherever it may be found.
“Clarks is a pinnacle of the British high-street, and whilst they play executive merry-go-round and shareholder confidence dissipates, many of their workers face homelessness and financial destitution due to the unfair new terms Clarks have forced upon them.
“We would say to Clarks that it’s time to start a new, more positive chapter for both company and worker, and if they are ready to abandon fire-and-rehire and come back round the table then we are ready to talk when they are.”
Clarks’ was taken over by Hong Kong-based private equity firm LionRock Capital in March this year, and the company’s new approach of dismissing staff and renegotiating new contracts with them has been widely criticised.
Earlier this week Clarks confirmed that its CEO, Victor Herrero, has stepped down from the role after just eight months.