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17 Nov 2021

Ben King, BBC

UK: Conciliation service Acas confirms contact with Clarks & Community union to resolve 'fire and rehire' dispute

"Clarks agrees to mediation in fire-and-rehire strike" 17 November 2021

...Clarks has agreed to allow mediators to help resolve a strike at its warehouse in Street, Somerset.

The conciliation service Acas confirmed that it is in contact with the company and the union about arranging talks...

Clarks wants the workers to accept new contracts, which would cut pay for a number of long-serving employees...

An Acas spokesperson said: "Acas is in touch with both sides involved in the Clarks dispute to work towards having talks as soon as possible."...

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the [Community] union confirmed that it had been approached by Acas and agreed immediately to meet with them and Clarks. "If reports are correct and the company have agreed to meet with us and Acas we look forwards to entering the process," they said...

The BBC understands that Clarks is not likely to submit to binding mediation, but the company hopes that Acas's non-binding conciliation process will help resolve the dispute.

Clarks says that 69% of warehouse workers have accepted the new contracts, up from 53% last week, though some of those who have signed are still taking part in the strike.

Last week Clarks improved its proposal to all affected employees by 5.6% to £10.03 per hour.

This would still represent a pay cut for long-standing workers, who say they stand to lose out by as much as 20%.

Community says that between 120 to 230 workers are taking part in the strike, though Clarks says the true number is lower...