Home Somerset business Strike at Clarks site in Somerset ends after agreement is reached | Retail business

Strike at Clarks site in Somerset ends after agreement is reached | Retail business

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Shoe company Clarks has reached a deal with around 100 workers to end a two-month strike at its Somerset distribution center.

The agreement with the community union, which follows mediation with Acas, is supposed to protect the hourly wages of established workers and increase the wages of new staff at the site.

Warehouse staff have been on strike since October 4, claiming the shoemaker was seeking to cut wages by almost 15% to £ 9.50 an hour using controversial fire and rehire tactics.

The changes were implemented following the takeover of Clarks by Hong Kong-based private equity firm LionRock Capital and former Chinese Olympic billionaire Li Ning in March.

The deal injected £ 100million in new cash into the nearly 200-year-old British shoe company, which is still owned by the descendants of its founders – Cyrus and James Clark.

In a joint statement, Community and Clarks said, “We are delighted that a resolution has been found that works in everyone’s best interests, protects the livelihoods of community members and recognizes their loyalty to Clarks.

“Following an indicative ballot by community members, it is confirmed that normal work has now resumed. “

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The two sides said they looked forward to “close cooperation as we emerge from the conflict and commit to positive industrial relations in the future.”

The deal is a positive step forward for Clarks, who is seeking a new CEO, his seventh boss in as many years.

LionRock is trying to turn things around after sales fell 43% to £ 775million in the year through January 30, as the group plunged £ 172million into the red against a profit of £ 21.5million a year ago.

While many clothing and footwear companies suffered during the early part of the pandemic, Clarks’ problems date back some time. The company’s market share has halved in six years to 4% as it lost its position as the UK’s largest shoe retailer to third behind JD Sports and Sports Direct.