Argos distribution workers are set to go on strike in a dispute over pay.
Two 24-hour stoppages will be held at the company’s warehouses in Basildon, Bridgewater, Heywood and Magna Park on 17th and 24th July. At Magna Park drivers will also be on strike on these dates.
This will be followed by a four day stoppage starting on 30th July, which will be staggered across the four depots, causing six days of disruption in total.
Workers are striking after the company offered them a below inflation pay rise of four per cent, which Argos says “compares extremely favourably with other retailers and with pay increases across the rest of the company”.
Workers claim that chief executive Terry Duddy received a 58 per cent pay rise last year, taking his salary up to £1.7 million and the finance director of the company awarded himself a healthy bonus, doubling his annual salary to £822,000.
Argos warehouse workers earn between £17,000 and £22,000 a year.
The Home Retail Group, which owns the high street chain, also announced plans to change the current sick pay scheme and begin paying workers on a monthly basis, rather than weekly, without any compensation.
Jennie Formby, national secretary of Unite, the union which represents Argos workers, said: “From next week Argos faces severe disruption to its customer distribution service.
“A below inflation wage offer is a pay cut and this is totally unacceptable to our members. Argos distribution workers helped to save over £10 million for the group in the last 15 months alone.
“This is a hugely profitable company and all our members are asking for is a fair share of the wealth they’ve worked so hard to create.”
In a statement issued this morning, Argos said it was “extremely disappointed” with the decision to strike as it thought that its pay offer of four per cent was “a very good one in the current, and likely future, difficult market environment”.
“Throughout the pay negotiations, Argos has made a number of different proposals to the union to try to find a satisfactory conclusion for all concerned. The union, on behalf of its members, has rejected all these proposals.”
It also said that if the industrial action goes ahead it has taken steps to ensure the damage caused both in store and online will be minimal.
“Only four out of our 15 distribution centres are affected and as negotiations with Unite have been ongoing for a number of months we have had plenty of time to put contingency plans in place.”
The strikes will work as follows:
Thursday 17th July and 24th July
Basildon – 6am 17th/24th July – 5.59am 18th/25th July
Bridgwater – 6am 17th/24th July – 5.59am 18th/25th July
Heywood – 6am 17th/24th July – 5.59am 18th/25th July
Magna Park – 6am 17th/24th July – 5.59am 18th/25th July
Magna Park – 3am 17th/24th July – 2.59am 18th/25th (drivers)
Four day total stoppage
Basildon – 1.15pm 31st July – 6am 4th August
Bridgwater – 2.30pm 30th July – 2.30pm 3rd August
Heywood – 3.30pm 31st July – 3.30pm 4th August
Magna Park – 7am 1st August – 7am 5th August (warehouse)
Magna Park – 3am 1st August – 3am Tuesday 5th August (drivers)