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18 Okt 2021

UK: Over 100 Clarks warehouse workers strike over 'fire and rehire tactics'

In September 2021, it was reported that union members at the Clarks distribution centre in Somerset, UK voted to strike over what the union referred to as 'fire and rehire' tactics, after the Somerset firm consulted employees over new contract proposals. The workers were told if they refused to sign the new contracts, they risked losing their jobs without redundancy pay.

The contract included wages being cut by almost 15% from an average of £11.16 an hour to £9.50 an hour, the end of paid 30-minute meal breaks and 10-minute coffee breaks, and reductions in sick pay and redundancy entitlements.

In October 2021, more than 100 workers went on strike.

In November 2021, the Community union accused Clarks of using agency workers to cover during the strike, after complaining to the government about a general worker seen driving a forklift on a series of occasions. Clarks denied the allegations.

Striking workers marched through the streets in protest, after Clarks alleged they had "conceded on a number of terms" and 53% of workers had accepted the new terms. However the striking workers reported that the offer was still not 'good enough' and workers would receive a pay cut.

Also in November 2021, the conciliatory service Acas confirmed it was in contact with both Clarks and the union.

In December 2021, Clarks and Community union released a joint statement, announcing that an agreement had been met during the mediation with Acas. According to The Guardian, the agreement protected hourly pay for established workers, and increased pay for new employees.

Company comments can be found below.