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Bridgwater Argos warehouse staff to go on six-day strike
ARGOS warehouse staff at the Bridgwater distribution centre will be going on a six-day strike from Sunday (July 20) in a dispute over changes to terms and conditions.
As reported, more than 100 workers walked out for 24 hours on July 4 but now another strike has been announced by the Unite union from 6am on July 20-26.
Workers will join warehouse staff employed by Argos at five distribution centres across the UK in a dispute over changes to their contracts such as increased weekend working – which they say will have an adverse impact on their family lives.
A warehouse worker, who did not wish to be named, told the Mercury: “We will be having a picket from 6am on Sunday. Saturday we think the warehouse is closed as per usual, so unless they change their minds, we won't turn up.
“The trades’ council have been very supportive of us, as have other unions and individuals, which we thank them all for.”
The strike is anticipated to affect the twice-yearly launch of the Argos catalogue and customers may experience a delay in receiving this.
A spokesman for Home Retail Group said the company was advised of the strike and had contingency plans in place to ensure a normal service for customers.
He added: “Around 75% of our total Distribution workforce, including our drivers, are not striking.
“We are also recruiting around 350 new permanent jobs in the distribution centres around the UK as part of the changes.
“New shift patterns have been developed in partnership with our Unite employee representatives, with a focus on maintaining our colleagues’ work/life balance. As 100% of colleagues are on accepted terms and conditions we are now working hard to understand any outstanding issues.
“Distribution colleagues are key to the success of our five-year transformation plan to become a digital retail leader.”
National officer for Unite Matt Draper added: “The reason our members felt pressurised to sign these contracts is that they would have lost the unsatisfactory one-off payment of £2,000 to sacrifice their family life for many years to come.
“Unite are frustrated at the lack of movement from the company and we’re determined to show our resolve to see changes made to the proposals.
“To be absolutely factual, 100% of staff have not accepted the new terms and conditions, individuals have not.
“Our members were told sign or be sacked, that is a reality. They will point out that one individual at Bridgwater has not signed and has not been dismissed; he has been told he can remain on his current terms. I thought they said 100% had signed up.”