Workers at Clarks are considering taking strike action over plans by the British shoe company to fire and then rehire them on inferior terms.
Loss-making Clarks was taken over by Hong Kong-based private equity firm LionRock Capital earlier this year as the Clark family lost control of the business for the first time in nearly two centuries.
The Community trade union, which represents the workers, said 109 out of 145 staff at Clarks’ Somerset warehouse are on contracts signed before the takeover, with more generous terms than those offered to newer hires.
Clarks wants to introduce a new contract which would cut pay by 15 percent, offer three fewer days’ holiday, reduce sickness benefits and eliminate 10-minute breaks and complimentary hot drinks.
Under British law, a 45-day consultation is required between management and employees before any changes to terms and conditions can be implemented.
“The workers most adversely impacted by these changes are those who have been employees for decades, sticking with the company through thick and thin, stepping up in the last year during the challenging pandemic period,” said John Paul McHugh, assistant general secretary at Community.
“Fire-and-rehire is no way to thank your employees or your customers. We ask Clarks to call off the diminishing of terms and conditions,” he added.