Warehouse workers at the shoe firm Clarks are striking against a decision to fire and rehire them on “worse pay and conditions” amid record losses.
The company posted losses of £180m last year and said it had implemented a single hourly rate of pay to help secure its future viability.
But Clarks Westway Warehouse workers in Street said the cuts had left them struggling financially.
Workers have been on strike since 4 October and negotiations are ongoing.
“I’ve worked here for 39 years and it’s just unbelievable that you can treat someone like that.
“All of a sudden you can say I’m only worth £9.50 after 39 years of experience,” an anonymous worker told the BBC.
Another said: “We’re having a pay cut, other terms and conditions on sick pay, redundancy and everything else is being slashed.
“So they’re basically offering us the same job on much worse money and conditions.”
A union spokesperson said: “The struggle is real and as a union we’re here to support the business to ensure our members have jobs for as long as possible.
“But at the end of the day, with such a big pay cut, we’re left with members who wont be able to pay their own bills and support their own families.”
‘Unacceptable negotiating tactics’
A Clarks’ spokesperson said the plan to fire and rehire employees on the new contract had affected all of its employees, not only those at the warehouse.
“Westway has a two-tier workforce with staff doing the same jobs working side by side on different rates of pay and terms.
“Those employed many years ago have significantly better terms than their colleagues which is unsustainable for us,” he added.
The Department for Work and Pensions has said: “We are absolutely clear that using fire and rehire as a negotiating tactic is completely unacceptable and we expect companies to treat their employees fairly.”
Clarks officials have said they will continue with negotiations.
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