Mendip Greens support Clark’s strike action

The eight Green Councillors on Mendip District Council have written to the strike leaders and union officials at Clark’s. The councillors have also written to Mr Li Ning of Viva China Holdings, who own a controlling interest in Lion Rock. This is the finance company that took over the Street based company last year. Local MP James Heappey, Green MP Caroline Lucas, and Sir Keir Starmer, have all been asked to intervene.

The strike which is now entering its third week is over so called “fire and rehire” contracts. This is a scheme where employees are invited to rescind their existing contracts and sign new, less generous terms.

The District Councillors say: “We wanted to send you our personal support, solidarity, and admiration for your action against the immoral demands of Lion Rock Capital. It is clear that your loyalty to Clark’s over many years has been abused. We fear the wrongs you are fighting today will be repeated all over the nation unless courageous people like you stand your ground, so we thank you for your resolution and leadership.

Green County Council Leader, Martin Dimery also supports the strike.

The Mayor of Glastonbury, Cllr Jon Cousins is a member of the District Council group. He told us: “As First Citizen of Glastonbury, I am writing to let you know that I fully support your indefinite strike action resisting ‘Fire-andRehire’ – undertaken in response to the changes that Clarks’ new owners Lion Rock Capital wish to impose’. I know many, many Glastonbury residents stand in solidarity with you; wish you all success in your action – and fully agree that ‘Fire-and-Rehire’ is no way for Clarks to thank employees or their customers. The workers at Clarks deserve better!’”

Mendip Trades Union Council state that the Clark’s warehouse workers, face a cut in pay of 15%. The Community Union claim they face the following threats:

  • 1. An average reduction in pay of £1.66 per hour: from the current £11.16p to £9.50p;
  • 2. An increase in working hours of 2.5 per week, due to paid 30-minute meal breaks being abolished;
  • 3. No pay rise for at least four years
  • 4. Drastic cuts in sick pay: from 13 weeks full pay to 6 weeks full pay and 6 weeks half pay; abolition of sick pay for the first day of absence; no sick pay entitlement from day one of employment, only after 6 months;
  • 5. The abolition of a daily ten-minute coffee break, brought in at the company’s request to ease warehouse operations;
  • 6. A drastic reduction in redundancy entitlements: from enhanced double statutory, to statutory, ie, one week’s wages per year of service), raising fears that the company will get rid of workers, get rid of workers, even close the Street Distribution Centre, just as they are closing their distribution centre in Kendal.  
  • 7. Cuts to overtime rates to regular time rates

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