CROWDS of Argos warehouse staff at the Bridgwater distribution centre will strike for 24 hours on Friday (July 4) in a dispute over terms and conditions.
Around 1,000 warehouse staff employed by Argos at five distribution centres across the UK will take part, in protest over increased weekend working - which they say will have an adverse impact on their family life.
The strike will begin at 6am on Friday. As reported, workers already went on strike on June 17 and Unite the union predicts the latest disruption to Argos customer deliveries will be “substantial”.
Matt Draper, Unite national officer for road transport and logistics, said: “The crux to the dispute is Argos’ determination to push through a new 24/7 shift pattern, without offering our members a decent compensation package to offset the severe disruption to their personal and family lives at weekends.
“In many cases, it is going to cause havoc with childcare arrangements and mean spouses and partners will see much less of each other. The company’s plans will seriously undermine the ‘work/life’ balance.”
He said the management offered a one-off payment of £2,400, which he described as “woefully inadequate”.
“We urge the employer to return to the negotiating table and relax the new strict criteria. This would allow us to reach agreement, once the management has recognised the impact its plans will have on our members’ lives,” Mr Draper added.
A spokesman for Home Retail Group said Argos has a five-year transformation plan to become a digital retail leader, which involves creating 350 new permanent Distribution jobs.
He added: "We have also proposed changes to our Distribution employees’ terms and conditions and have been engaging colleagues to introduce them. 99.8 % of our Distribution colleagues have already accepted the changes to their contract, and we are working hard to understand and address any outstanding queries or issues.
“We believe the proposed changes represent the best outcome for the security of our colleagues and Argos alike. As such, we are now asking colleagues to accept the changes to their contract in order to help us realise our transformation plan.
"We have been advised of the strike, and have contingency plans in place to ensure a normal service for our customers."