Argos distribution workers have overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay. 67% of those who took part in the ballot voted for strike action. The turn out was over 75%.
Unite, the UK’s biggest union, is warning the Home Retail Group, owner of Argos and one of the country’s biggest high street retailers that they face severe disruption to their customer distribution service. Workers rejected the company’s pay offer of 4.0% . They are also furious that Argos intends to erode the sick pay scheme and implement monthly pay instead of weekly pay without any compensation.
Argos distribution workers across four key regional distribution centres at Basildon, Bridgwater, Heywood and Magna Park in Leicestershire will embark on a series of 24 hour strikes with the action escalating to a four day stoppage. Details of the strike dates will be announced next week.
Unite are angry that the company have offered a below inflation pay deal with strings at a time when the Home Retail Group’s profits are up 16% on last year’s profits of £423 million. In 2007, CEO Terry Duddy was rewarded with a 58% increase in his salary package to take it to over £1.7m and their Finance Director has just added a bonus of over 100% to his annual salary giving him earnings this year of £882,000.
Unite national secretary, Jennie Formby, said: “Argos now faces severe disruption to their customer distribution service.
Our members have been working harder and more flexibly. Thanks to them Argos distribution has managed to save over £10 million pounds for the group in the last fifteen months alone.
“Many distribution workers earn as little as £17,000 a year for doing back-breaking, essential work for this company. A below inflation wage offer is a pay cut and this is totally unacceptable to our members. They are already struggling to keep up with rising food and energy costs.
This is a hugely profitable company and all our members are asking for is a fare share of the wealth they’ve worked so hard to create.”