An agreement has been reached between the trade union Community and the shoe manufacturer Clarks, ending the industrial action that has taken place over the last two months. The agreement sees the pay of workers protected after previous threats of reduction. Workers at the Street distribution centre had been on strike since 4th October over the discredited ‘Fire and Rehire’ tactic which had been brought in when Clarks was taken over by Hong Kong based private equity firm LionRock Capital. Trades unionists, Labour Party members and the wider community from around Somerset had rallied around the striking workers and a major march through the streets of Street took place as the dispute escalated. The settlement, involving a major input of new money and achieved in the run up to Christmas, has been welcomed by workers and supporters.
COMMUNITY UNION & CLARKS STATEMENT ON THE RESOLUTION OF INDUSTRIAL ACTION AT WESTWAY DISTRIBUTION CENTRE
Community and Clarks announce that following a process of mediation with Acas, an agreement has been reached in respect of the industrial dispute at the Clarks Westway Distribution Centre.
We are pleased that a resolution has been reached that works in everybody’s interests, protects Community members’ livelihoods, and recognises their loyalty to Clarks.
Following an indicative ballot of Community members it is confirmed that normal working has now resumed.
Community and Clarks express their thanks to Acas for its support and look forward to close co-operation as we move on from the dispute and commit to positive industrial relations in the future.
Statement from Mendip TUC
Dave Chapple, Secretary of Mendip Trades Union Council said “In a Community Union statement today, introducing its joint media release with C& J Clark International, the end of the two-month long strike has been described as “Fire and Rehire Defeated!” It certainly has! In fact, the Fire and Rehire proposal, which would have reduced most hourly rates from £1l.16p and hour to £9.50p an hour, has been smashed to pieces! Even the small minority of ‘New World Contract’ staff have achieved a 5.4% pay rise! While some concessions were made during the ACAS-brokered negotiations, there are three reasons why the negotiated settlement of the longest all-out strike in Somerset for 35 years was overwhelmingly accepted by the strikers:
1. “Fire and Rehire” was withdrawn.