Anas Sarwar backs Clarks workers

The leader of the Scottish Labour Party Anas Sarwar has today vowed to outlaw fire-and-rehire on a visit to a protest outside a Clarks store today.

Workers at Clarks U.K. distribution centre walked out last week in a dispute over fire-and-rehire. 88% of staff voted in favour of industrial action.

The reduction of terms & conditions at Clarks UK is primarily targeted at legacy members of staff, who were employees before Lion Rock became majority shareholder in March 2021. Clarks UK had been in discussions with unions on terms but failed to reach an agreement.

The company pushed for their employees to accept far-reaching reduced conditions, with everything from a reduction in hourly wage, sick pay and annual holidays, to a removal of 10-minute coffee breaks and complimentary hot drinks.

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour Leader, says:

“I want to send my absolute solidarity to the workers of Clarks. It is a scandal that a venture capital firm can arrive and reduce the terms of workers, including some who have been there for decades.
From Sutherland to Somerset, no worker should be exposed to the scandal of fire-and-rehire and a Labour government would end this behaviour by unscrupulous bosses. But action can be taken now. That is why I’m calling on all of Scotland’s political leaders, to stand with Clarks workers and demand that this callous Tory government outlaw this shameful practice once and for all.”

Fire and rehire, whilst legal, is a hugely controversial practice condemned across the political spectrum. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North East Somerset, recently said the tactics “shame businesses”.

Keir Starmer has previously called for fire and rehire to be outlawed. During the pandemic, The TUC calculated one in 10 workers (three million people) were threatened with the sack unless they accepted changes to their pay or conditions.

To support the workers at Clarks and call for an end to fire-and-rehire, click here.

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