Barbour workers are to call on the firms chair to intervene in the dispute

Barbour workers are to call on the firm's chair to intervene in the dispute

Workers at country clothing maker Barbour & Sons who are taking part in strike action over "forced" changes to contracts are to call on the brand's chair, Dame Margaret Barbour, to try to resolve the dispute.

The workers, who have nearly completed the first week of a month-long strike, will tomorrow (9 January) march to the firm's headquarters in South Shields to hand in a letter outlining their concerns, and hold a rally.

The "solidarity march" and rally come as Barbour management agreed to talks with arbitration service Acas on Monday (12 January). According to the Unite union, the workers want Barbour, which supplies the likes of Harrods and Harvey Nichols, to ensure the company's management enter the talks in a "positive and constructive manner".

The dispute centres around contract changes, which include the removal of an unsocial hours payment and the introduction of a requirement to work until 11 o'clock at night. Unite says workers have been told they must sign the new deal by 30 January or face being fired.

The four-week planned strike by the Gateshead-based workers follows a six-day stoppage in December.

Unite regional officer Fazia Hussain-Brown claims Barbour's actions run contrary to the family values it says it holds, adding: "Workers have shown through their solid support for the strike that they are prepared to stand firm to get a just settlement."

"Management should be under no illusion of the workforce's resolve and we urge Dame Margaret Barbour to intervene and help resolve a dispute which is damaging the Barbour brand."

Barbour has not yet responded to requests for comment on the dispute.