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Clarks agrees to mediation over employee strikes

By Huw Hughes


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Image: Clarks

Clarks has reportedly agreed to allow conciliation service Acas to mediate talks between the British footwear retailer and its employees over strikes at its warehouse in Street, Somerset.

Staff have been striking at the site since 4 October over alleged ‘fire and rehire’ tactics by Clarks.

The Community union, which represents the strikers, says Clarks wants to dismiss workers, only to re-employ them on worse contracts.

An Acas spokesperson told the BBC: “Acas is in touch with both sides involved in the Clarks dispute to work towards having talks as soon as possible.”

While the fire and rehire tactic has been around for years, it’s faced increased criticism over the past 18 months as a growing number of companies have implemented it to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Clarks has been undergoing a restructuring of its business as lockdown resulted in a 43 percent drop in sales in the year to January, while it made a pre-tax loss of 172 million pounds.