Clarks issues statement on strike action at Westway distribution centre
Clarks has issued a statement on the current industrial industrial action at its Westway distribution centre as it revealed that the majority of employees have now accepted new terms and conditions.
In it the footwear retailer said it had written to Community the Union to urge it to take action against multiple instances of intimidation, harassment, threats and abuse directed towards Clarks employees.
Clarks said several staff members had come forward to report that they had suffered abuse from the picket line when attending work, some of which included violent threats and homophobic abuse.
In addition, it said that many employees who remain on strike have indicated that they would like to return to work but are afraid to do so due to threats and intimidation. Clarks said it had already raised the concerns informally with Community.
Clarks said in the statement: “Clarks calls on Community to take these claims seriously and ensure the abuse and intimidation stops, appropriate action is taken to ensure a safe and lawful picket, and to make a commitment that those that wish to return to work can do so without intimidation and in a safe environment.
“A majority of the current workforce at Westway is still working, and whilst we appreciate that this is a challenging situation, that is no excuse for our people to be abused and feel unsafe attending their place of work. These incidents are unacceptable, and Clarks condemns them in the strongest possible terms. The company will have zero tolerance for anyone found abusing or intimidating our people.”
Clarks said 53% of Westway employees have now signed new terms and conditions and that it had so far agreed to significant multiple concessions in respect of many of the terms that were originally proposed..
It added: “This week Clarks has taken a further step by proposing to increase pay for all Westway employees by 5.6% to £10.03 per hour to recognise the Government’s recent announcement on National Minimum Wage increases from April 2022 and with a view to resolving the current trade dispute. That proposal was rejected out of hand by Community, with no counter-proposal. We call on Community to engage in meaningful discussions, without preconditions, so that we can bring this dispute to an end.”
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