Clarks staff mull strike action amid fire & rehire plans

Clarks staff mull strike action amid fire & rehire plans
The union representing those workers, Community, has said all options were being considered - including strike action - to fight the controversial fire and rehire move.
// 110 Clarks staff members considering strike action amid controversial fire and rehire move
// Staff are reportedly being asked to accept a new contract which features reduce pay and worse employment terms
// Clarks may still work towards a negotiated solution that includes giving staff new contracts with a pay rise

More than 100 Clarks staff members are considering strike action amid reports that the footwear retailer is set to carry out a controversial fire and rehire process.

The news comes as Clarks underwent a major restructure through a CVA process earlier this year, which entailed rent negotiations, some store closures, and a change of leadership and company ownership.

A spokesperson for the footwear retailer – which is now majority-owned by Hong Kong-based private equity firm LionRock Capital rather than the Clarks family itself – confirmed that it would file official paperwork to begin a 45-day consultation with employees.


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Almost 110 of Clark’s 145 warehouse staff in Somerset are on contracts signed before LionRock’s takeover, which are more generous than those offered to recent hires.

Affected staff are reportedly being asked to accept a new contract which would reduce pay by around 15 per cent, along with three fewer days’ holiday, worse terms around sick leave, and eliminate 10-minute breaks and complimentary hot drinks.

The union representing those workers, Community, has said all options were being considered – including strike action – to fight the controversial fire and rehire move.

However, according to BBC News, Clarks may work towards a negotiated solution that includes giving staff new contracts with a pay rise and new employment terms.

A Clarks spokesperson said: “Clarks is currently consulting with unions and employees at our Westway Distribution Centre in Street, Somerset on proposed changes to employment terms and conditions for all operatives.

“As we are in a period of consultation, we are unable to comment any further at this time.”

Community union assistant general secretary John Paul McHugh said: “The workers most adversely impacted by these changes are those who have been employees for decades, sticking with the company through thick and thin, stepping up in the last year during the challenging pandemic period.

“Fire-and-rehire is no way to thank your employees or your customers. We ask Clarks to call off the diminishing of terms and conditions.”

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