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Clarks brought to heel as fire and rehire defeated

Union leaders should learn from the workers' courage.
Issue 2784
Dozens of people marching to support the fight against fire and rehire by Clarks workers. CWU, Labour and Unison and Unite banners.

The solidarity march was in November important (Pic: Clarks Strike Supporters on Facebook)

An eight-week strike by Clarks shoes warehouse workers in Somerset has beaten a “fire and rehire” attempt by the firm’s private equity owners.

The workers’ battling spirit is an example to everyone. They were sustained by local trade union support and a 400-strong march

Community union leaders made concessions during talks with the bosses brokered by the Acas mediation service.

But strikers overwhelmingly backed the deal because it meant they had beaten back attempts to cuts their wages from £11.16 and hour to £9.50 an hour.

And workers already on a new contract and a reduced rate will get a 5.4 percent pay rise.

“It’s a massive relief,” said one striker. “We stood firm despite all the worry about striking for so long and the uncertainty over whether Clarks’ new owners would just close out operation. We have come out of this so much stronger.”

However, the standstill in pay means that workers will face a pay cut in real terms this year.


Pay win in Glasgow?

A strike by school janitors and cleaners in Glasgow was called off this week after bosses offered them a last minute pay deal.

Workers, who are members of the GMB union, are outsourced to Amey by Glasgow city council.

They were set to strike on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week.

Nearly 96 percent of workers had voted for strikes on a 69 percent turnout.

Now workers will vote on the new deal.

Initially Amey offered a rise of less than 1.5 percent.

There are reports that the strike threat has increased this to over six percent.

 The best way forward would be to unite all the council disputes with more strikes by the cleansing workers.

They struck during Cop26 and have still not won their demands.


Stop bosses at Weetabix

Weetabix strikers in Kettering and Corby in Northamptonshire are reballoting for further strikes against their bosses’ fire and rehire attempt to cut their pay.

A consultative ballot on more action showed 69 percent in favour. Strikers are now returning to the factories and will be balloted in the coming weeks.

The strike started as 48-hour a week action, eventually upped to four days a week. To really hit the bosses the Unite union has to win the ballot and escalate to an all out strike.

Weetabix, owned by a giant multinational, cannot be allowed to succeed. The union has the finances to support the strikers, call protests and seek to spread the action.

Donate to Unite East Midlands. Sort code: 60-83-01 Account number 20173975. Email messages of support to[email protected]


  • Strikes at Panasonic in Cardiff have been suspended by the GMB union.

The technology giant has offered workers a 5.5 percent wage increase over two years and a £300 annual bonus.

Workers will soon vote on the deal. They have fought bravely and beaten a pay freeze.

But the deal is still well below inflation and should be rejected.

  • Workers at Serco Sandwell have forced the bosses to make conditions at the site safer.

Strikes and walkouts began months ago over unsafe conditions and bullying and involved around 130 workers.

After threatening to strike over the Christmas period, management promised to make the site safer and offered a pay rise and permanent contracts to agency workers.

Over 90 percent of workers accepted the offer put forward by the company.

  • Delivery workers in Sheffield struck on Monday to demand a pay rise.

Bosses at Stuart and Just Eat have decided to cut their income by a horrific 24 percent.

From this week pay was set to be cut by £1.10 per delivery, from £4.50 to £3.40.

Delivery drivers and riders are demanding a £6 base rate for all deliveries and for waiting times to be paid.

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