The TUC has today (Friday) called on the new CEO of Clarks Shoes Johnny Chen to “get around the table” with union leaders and end the dispute over the company’s controversial use of ‘fire and rehire’ tactics.
The TUC says Johnny Chen should meet urgently with the general secretary of Community Roy Rickhuss to come to a fair agreement.
The call comes ahead of protests tomorrow (Saturday). Workers currently on strike, their families and their supporters will march through the iconic Clarks Village to protest the usage of fire-and-rehire by Clarks and ask them to reconsider.
Members of Community union – working at Clarks warehouse in Street, Somerset –have been on strike since October 4th after the company threatened to dismiss them and rehire them on worse terms.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Nobody wants to see this dispute drag on – least of all Clarks’ workers.
“We urge the new CEO to urgently get around the table with the general secretary of Community and come to a fair agreement.”
TUC Deputy General Secretary Paul Nowak, who will join the march and protest in Clarks Village tomorrow, said:
“Generations of families have worked for and contributed to the success of Clarks shoes. All they want is for is staff to be treated with dignity at work.
“A company with Clarks’ proud tradition and history should not be using ‘fire and rehire’ tactics to drive down pay and conditions.”
Community General Secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “Over the past month, workers at Clarks have been overwhelmed by the outpouring support that people from across the country have given them. Fire-and-rehire is cruel and wrong, and everyone is aware of this. Sadly, this has led to no progress with Clarks and their plans will be continuing.
“Clarks is a staple brand on the British high street, with a history dating back over a century. Their roots in their local community go even deeper. There once was a time where Clarks built schools, libraries and theatres for their workers and their families in Somerset. This is a betrayal of their roots, and everything Clarks once stood for.
“We are protesting on Saturday to send a message to Clarks that we stand strong and we will resist these changes at every turn. We do not want to be on strike, and we do not want to be protesting. We urge Clarks to call off the diminishing of terms and conditions and reconsider this move. We remain ready and waiting for productive discussions on how we can succeed together going forward when they are.”
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