Barry Gardiner MP to join Somerset demonstration against Clarks fire and rehire attacks

Labour MP Barry Gardiner will join a demonstration against fire and rehire practices at Clarks outside the shoemakers’ headquarters in Street, Somerset, this Monday (26 July).

When: Monday, 26 July, 2021 at 15:00

Where: Farm Rd, Street, Somerset BA16 0BB.

Unite, which represents around 200 Clarks headquarters staff, has warned that its members are considering strike action after being told they will be ‘fired’ from their old employment contracts and ‘rehired’ onto new inferior ones.

End fire and rehire

The union has backed a bill to outlaw fire and rehire put forward in Parliament by Barry Gardiner MP, who will travel to Somerset to show solidarity with Clarks’ workers.

Under the proposals put forward by Clarks, which was taken over by Hong Kong-based private equity firm LionRock Capital earlier this year, Unite members would see reductions in overtime rates, sick pay, parental leave, redundancy packages and call out pay.

All staff affected 

More than 100 Clarks warehouse staff, who are members of the Community Union, as well as a smaller amount of warehouse staff who are members of Unite, are also considering strike action over similar proposals.

Unite said that it will work with Community to stop the fire and rehire attacks, including coordinating any potential strike action.

Members will take a stand

Unite regional officer, Gareth Lowe, said: “Our members, as well as their warehouse colleagues in the Community union, will not stand for Clarks attempts to slash their terms and conditions.

“Fire and rehire is wrong and Clarks risks having its entire Street operations shut down during strikes if it does not change tack.”

Fire and rehire is wrong

Barry Gardiner, MP, said: "I have been really encouraged by the support I have received from MPs from every party and every corner of the country. This issue effects millions of working people across Britain and their families.  

“Every union and good employer knows fire and rehire is wrong and together we can make Britain the best place to work. Carpenters, cleaners and comedians all back this Bill. 

"I have been travelling the country to promote the Bill and I have heard terrible stories that are an embarrassment to British industry but together I know we can win." 

Objectionable practice

Unite assistant general secretary for politics and legal, Howard Beckett, said: “It's quite clear that the public is firmly on the side of working people when it comes to the horrific practice of fire and rehire.

 "There is no grey area here. They see that this is an objectionable practice that should be banned. The government has to get on the same page as the voters on this – and fast."