Workers at four Argos distribution centres are threatening to take strike action after being offered a below inflation pay rise of four per cent, which would effectively see them taking a pay cut.
Trade union Unite has warned the retailer’s owner, the Home Retail Group, that unless it pays its workers a living wage it will be forced to cause “severe disruption” to its customer distribution service.
Two thirds of workers at warehouses in Basildon, Bridgewater, Heywood and Magna Park in Leicestershire have voted in favour of a series of 24-hour stoppages, the dates of which are yet to be announced.
As part of the pay deal workers, who currently earn between £17,000 and £22,000 per year, will also see access to sick pay restricted.
The Home Retail Group reported a 16 per cent growth in profits last year, with chief executive Terry Duddy taking a 58 per cent pay rise, increasing his salary to more than £1.7 million.
In addition to the rewards packages handed out to executives, shareholders are also expected to be awarded with a ten per cent dividend.
Jennie Formby, national officer at Unite, said: “Argos distribution has managed to save half a million pounds this year thanks to our members who have worked hard to keep costs down.
“But with the average distribution worker earning just £17,000 a year doing back-breaking, essential work for this company, a below inflation wage offer while the shareholders pocket handsome rewards is a slap in the face.”