More Argos strikes could follow, union warns

More Argos strikes could follow, union warns

More Argos strikes could follow, union warns

First published in News

A UNION has warned there could be a repeat of the strikes currently taking place at Bridgwater’s Argos distribution centre.
 

Members of Unite are striking in Bridgwater and four other depots in a row over pensions changes.

The strike began on Wednesday and is expected to last until Monday morning.
Unite national officer, Paul Davies, said hopes of a last minute breakthrough with Home Retail Group, which operates Argos and Homebase, had fallen through.

Mr Davies said: “Our members have gone on strike and this has caused considerable disruption to store deliveries for the company.

“We would like this dispute to go Acas, but if Argos does not agree more strikes could be on the cards, once our members have been consulted on the next moves.”

Home Retail Group said its pension arrangements were competitive and said the strike action has not been as effective as Unite claims.

Do you back the Argos workers taking strike action? Comment below or contact our newsdesk, via newsdesk@bridgwatermercury.co.uk, or 01278-727960.

 

 

Comments (6)

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5:16pm Fri 21 Sep 12

awayswing says...

The Argos workers who are fighting for their pensions have my full support.Workers and pensioners in this country are being treated very badly by their employers and past employers.If it was not for the fact that pensioners vote at general elections I feel sure that state pensioners would be treated very badly indeed by the government.Changing from RPI to CPI was disgraceful.
The Argos workers who are fighting for their pensions have my full support.Workers and pensioners in this country are being treated very badly by their employers and past employers.If it was not for the fact that pensioners vote at general elections I feel sure that state pensioners would be treated very badly indeed by the government.Changing from RPI to CPI was disgraceful. awayswing
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Sat 22 Sep 12

*SomersetSocialistParty* says...

Somerset Socialist Party offers full and unequivocal support to the Unite members at Argos's Bridgwater depot.

'An injury to one is an injury to all.'

Workers strike as Argos tightens the screws

A Socialist Part member spoke to Unite members at Argos's Basildon depot...

Unite union members at Argos are taking strike action against their employer's decision to end their final salary pension scheme.

The scheme was closed to new entrants some years ago, and, having closed the scheme the company is now leaning on its workers to join a new one which does not offer a pension based on earnings, but works as a savings scheme, leaving retired workers at the mercy of the financial services industry at the point of their retirement.

The union is demanding a compensation package for Argos workers who are affected by the shutdown.

The attack on pensions is just the latest move by Argos to tighten the screws on its workers. The Unite union won recognition at the Basildon depot 12 years ago, but only after a long campaign by its members, who faced down management threats of dismissal in order to organise a majority of workers.

Since then, the bosses have systematically tried to undercut wages and undermine the union by using agency staff wherever possible; according to management, 62% of the Basildon workforce are 'temps' employed on lower wage rates through an agency.

Agency assault on workers' rights

In a further assault on the idea of 'the rate for the job' Argos now uses two separate agencies, Transline and Single Resource, paying workers different rates depending on which agency supplies them.

At best agency workers get a six-month contract, with a requirement that they must be prepared to work 20 out of 24 Sundays.

All workers are subject to relentless pressure to cut down 'idle time' and meet 'Key Productivity Indicators'; they face a ruthless response if they are forced to take sick leave.

In fairness, not all Argos employees are under the cosh. Chief executive Terry Duddy 'earned' £1.1 million last year. His pension fund is worth £4 million and will pay out £187,000 a year on retirement.

'Hard luck' story

His management underlings in Basildon have made it clear that in the New Year they intend to recruit permanent staff at below the current union rate, claiming lack of profitability in the face of stiff competition from online stores - like all bosses, they are always ready with a 'hard luck' story.

In reality the dispute is part of a concerted attack by employers in both the public and private sector on the hard won wages and conditions of workers everywhere.

The strike runs for four days from Wednesday 19 September. There will be pickets at distribution depots, and the union will be leafleting Argos stores to explain to customers what a shoddy deal Argos gives its employees.

For more information, or to join the Socialist Party visit:
www.socialistparty.o

rg.uk”
Somerset Socialist Party offers full and unequivocal support to the Unite members at Argos's Bridgwater depot. 'An injury to one is an injury to all.' Workers strike as Argos tightens the screws A Socialist Part member spoke to Unite members at Argos's Basildon depot... Unite union members at Argos are taking strike action against their employer's decision to end their final salary pension scheme. The scheme was closed to new entrants some years ago, and, having closed the scheme the company is now leaning on its workers to join a new one which does not offer a pension based on earnings, but works as a savings scheme, leaving retired workers at the mercy of the financial services industry at the point of their retirement. The union is demanding a compensation package for Argos workers who are affected by the shutdown. The attack on pensions is just the latest move by Argos to tighten the screws on its workers. The Unite union won recognition at the Basildon depot 12 years ago, but only after a long campaign by its members, who faced down management threats of dismissal in order to organise a majority of workers. Since then, the bosses have systematically tried to undercut wages and undermine the union by using agency staff wherever possible; according to management, 62% of the Basildon workforce are 'temps' employed on lower wage rates through an agency. Agency assault on workers' rights In a further assault on the idea of 'the rate for the job' Argos now uses two separate agencies, Transline and Single Resource, paying workers different rates depending on which agency supplies them. At best agency workers get a six-month contract, with a requirement that they must be prepared to work 20 out of 24 Sundays. All workers are subject to relentless pressure to cut down 'idle time' and meet 'Key Productivity Indicators'; they face a ruthless response if they are forced to take sick leave. In fairness, not all Argos employees are under the cosh. Chief executive Terry Duddy 'earned' £1.1 million last year. His pension fund is worth £4 million and will pay out £187,000 a year on retirement. 'Hard luck' story His management underlings in Basildon have made it clear that in the New Year they intend to recruit permanent staff at below the current union rate, claiming lack of profitability in the face of stiff competition from online stores - like all bosses, they are always ready with a 'hard luck' story. In reality the dispute is part of a concerted attack by employers in both the public and private sector on the hard won wages and conditions of workers everywhere. The strike runs for four days from Wednesday 19 September. There will be pickets at distribution depots, and the union will be leafleting Argos stores to explain to customers what a shoddy deal Argos gives its employees. For more information, or to join the Socialist Party visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk” *SomersetSocialistParty*
  • Score: 0

5:37pm Sat 22 Sep 12

*SomersetSocialistParty* says...

We can beat Con-Dems' austerity

March 20 October, TUC demo

Strike, 24-hour general strike

John McInally, the national vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) spoke in favour of the resolution calling for general strike action against austerity at the recent TUC Congress. The motion was moved by Steve Gillan, general secretary of the POA prison officers' union, seconded by Bob Crow, leader of the RMT transport union and received overwhelming support. This is John's speech:

The motion calls for coordinated action and 'far-reaching' campaigns, including considering the practicalities of a general strike against the government's austerity programme.

Austerity is a sanitised expression for what is an unremitting class war on our people.

The aim is to achieve, on the basis of the cuts and privatisation programme, the biggest transfer of wealth and power in many generations.

At its core is a 'race to the bottom' that is ripping the heart out of our communities.

It means the driving down of wage levels, massive job cuts, the destruction of the welfare state and the NHS and the public services that provide the basis of a civilised existence for working people.

This unprecedented assault can only proceed because of the poisonous political consensus that exists among the major parties - shamefully including Labour - that says there is no alternative to the market and the barbaric proposition that the acquisition of obscene wealth and profit by a tiny unaccountable elite comes before the needs of millions.

Those millions are crying out for an alternative.

They watch in fear and disgust as one outrage follows another:
The Libor fixing rate affecting millions of workers
Banks laundering drug money
Government-instigate

d hate campaigns against the disabled and unemployed

30 November demonstrated the massive strength and potential of our movement.

But rather than building on that tremendous display of class solidarity the abject surrender that followed sent out a message of division, despair and defeatism.

We now have an opportunity to send out a message of hope - loud and clear - that we intend to harness the full strength of our movement and class to stop the austerity programme in its tracks.

The 20 October must be more than another protest march - it must be the platform on which we build coordinated action on the widest possible front across both the public and private sector.

Every union here has a legitimate dispute on pay, pensions, jobs, privatisation or a related issue.

So, let's hear no nonsense about the difficulties or legalities of organising coordinated action.

Let's not fixate about the 'scary words', general strike.

Let us rather sit down together and agree a date for joint action and wider campaigning across the trade union movement as soon as practicably possible after 20 October.

A 24-hour strike as a start to an effective programme of coordinated industrial action and wider campaigning would irrevocably shift the balance of forces in our favour.

How many times must it be said - campaigning works and action gets results.

We have recently won thousands of jobs in the civil service by organising action.

The attacks are increasing, not abating. Millions are waiting for a lead to fight back. Let's provide that lead.

--------------------

--------------------

--------------------

--------------------



National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN)

For more information on how to build for the demo, and campaign for a 24-hour general strike see www.shopstewards.net or email the National Shop Stewards Network: info@shopstewards.ne

t”
We can beat Con-Dems' austerity March 20 October, TUC demo Strike, 24-hour general strike John McInally, the national vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) spoke in favour of the resolution calling for general strike action against austerity at the recent TUC Congress. The motion was moved by Steve Gillan, general secretary of the POA prison officers' union, seconded by Bob Crow, leader of the RMT transport union and received overwhelming support. This is John's speech: The motion calls for coordinated action and 'far-reaching' campaigns, including considering the practicalities of a general strike against the government's austerity programme. Austerity is a sanitised expression for what is an unremitting class war on our people. The aim is to achieve, on the basis of the cuts and privatisation programme, the biggest transfer of wealth and power in many generations. At its core is a 'race to the bottom' that is ripping the heart out of our communities. It means the driving down of wage levels, massive job cuts, the destruction of the welfare state and the NHS and the public services that provide the basis of a civilised existence for working people. This unprecedented assault can only proceed because of the poisonous political consensus that exists among the major parties - shamefully including Labour - that says there is no alternative to the market and the barbaric proposition that the acquisition of obscene wealth and profit by a tiny unaccountable elite comes before the needs of millions. Those millions are crying out for an alternative. They watch in fear and disgust as one outrage follows another: The Libor fixing rate affecting millions of workers Banks laundering drug money Government-instigate d hate campaigns against the disabled and unemployed 30 November demonstrated the massive strength and potential of our movement. But rather than building on that tremendous display of class solidarity the abject surrender that followed sent out a message of division, despair and defeatism. We now have an opportunity to send out a message of hope - loud and clear - that we intend to harness the full strength of our movement and class to stop the austerity programme in its tracks. The 20 October must be more than another protest march - it must be the platform on which we build coordinated action on the widest possible front across both the public and private sector. Every union here has a legitimate dispute on pay, pensions, jobs, privatisation or a related issue. So, let's hear no nonsense about the difficulties or legalities of organising coordinated action. Let's not fixate about the 'scary words', general strike. Let us rather sit down together and agree a date for joint action and wider campaigning across the trade union movement as soon as practicably possible after 20 October. A 24-hour strike as a start to an effective programme of coordinated industrial action and wider campaigning would irrevocably shift the balance of forces in our favour. How many times must it be said - campaigning works and action gets results. We have recently won thousands of jobs in the civil service by organising action. The attacks are increasing, not abating. Millions are waiting for a lead to fight back. Let's provide that lead. -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) For more information on how to build for the demo, and campaign for a 24-hour general strike see www.shopstewards.net or email the National Shop Stewards Network: info@shopstewards.ne t” *SomersetSocialistParty*
  • Score: 0

11:48am Tue 25 Sep 12

lorna doone says...

Screws do need tightening especially with Argos furniture !!! seriously i dont blame the employees you have to try to get whats rightfully yours x
Screws do need tightening especially with Argos furniture !!! seriously i dont blame the employees you have to try to get whats rightfully yours x lorna doone
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Tue 25 Sep 12

*SomersetSocialistParty* says...

Industrial Dispute Timeline for Argos

July 2008: On 17 July Argos workers in the Unite union launched a strike against an insulting pay offer of 3.8%, and the employer’s attempt to move them from weekly to monthly pay without any compensation. After a solid start to the strike it was eventually called off when Argos management revised their earlier pay offer.

January 2009: Unite condemned the decision by Argos to close its Trafford Park distribution site with the loss of over 200 jobs.

December 2011: Agency workers officially employed by Adecco at Argos in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire held a demonstration at the Argos site at Barton Business Park “against ‘pay apartheid’ which sees their pay packets up to £120-a-week lighter than their full-time colleagues” (see video).

(Note: Judith Sprieser who served as a board member of Adecco from 2008 until 2010 is presently a director of Experian plc. This is significant because in 2006 both Experian plc and Argos’ parent company (Home Retail Group) were formed following the demerger of the long-established UK conglomerate Gus plc.)

December 2011: Workers based at the Argos ‘Eurocentral’ warehouse in Motherwell, Scotland, undertook twenty-four hours of strike action on Thursday 8th December in defence of their pension rights. The dispute organized through Unite involved over thirty-five drivers and warehouse operatives currently employed by the sub-contractor Norbert Dentressangle.

February 2012: Unite disputes Argos’ decision to close one of its most efficient distribution sites, employing about 750 staff, at Corby, Northamptonshire.

June 2012: Argos continues utilizing free labour through the government’s workfare program.

September 2012: Unite union members at four of Argos’ key regional distribution sites (Basildon, Bridgwater, Heywood and Magna Park in Leicestershire) are taking strike action against their employer’s decision to end their final salary pension scheme. The strike runs for four days from Wednesday 19 September. There will be pickets at distribution depots, and the union will be leafleting Argos stores to explain to customers what a shoddy deal Argos gives its employees.


For more information, or to join the Socialist Party visit:
www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk”
Industrial Dispute Timeline for Argos July 2008: On 17 July Argos workers in the Unite union launched a strike against an insulting pay offer of 3.8%, and the employer’s attempt to move them from weekly to monthly pay without any compensation. After a solid start to the strike it was eventually called off when Argos management revised their earlier pay offer. January 2009: Unite condemned the decision by Argos to close its Trafford Park distribution site with the loss of over 200 jobs. December 2011: Agency workers officially employed by Adecco at Argos in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire held a demonstration at the Argos site at Barton Business Park “against ‘pay apartheid’ which sees their pay packets up to £120-a-week lighter than their full-time colleagues” (see video). (Note: Judith Sprieser who served as a board member of Adecco from 2008 until 2010 is presently a director of Experian plc. This is significant because in 2006 both Experian plc and Argos’ parent company (Home Retail Group) were formed following the demerger of the long-established UK conglomerate Gus plc.) December 2011: Workers based at the Argos ‘Eurocentral’ warehouse in Motherwell, Scotland, undertook twenty-four hours of strike action on Thursday 8th December in defence of their pension rights. The dispute organized through Unite involved over thirty-five drivers and warehouse operatives currently employed by the sub-contractor Norbert Dentressangle. February 2012: Unite disputes Argos’ decision to close one of its most efficient distribution sites, employing about 750 staff, at Corby, Northamptonshire. June 2012: Argos continues utilizing free labour through the government’s workfare program. September 2012: Unite union members at four of Argos’ key regional distribution sites (Basildon, Bridgwater, Heywood and Magna Park in Leicestershire) are taking strike action against their employer’s decision to end their final salary pension scheme. The strike runs for four days from Wednesday 19 September. There will be pickets at distribution depots, and the union will be leafleting Argos stores to explain to customers what a shoddy deal Argos gives its employees. For more information, or to join the Socialist Party visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk” *SomersetSocialistParty*
  • Score: 0

3:01pm Tue 25 Sep 12

*SomersetSocialistParty* says...

Industrial Dispute Timeline for Argos

July 2008: On 17 July Argos workers in the Unite union launched a strike against an insulting pay offer of 3.8%, and the employer’s attempt to move them from weekly to monthly pay without any compensation. After a solid start to the strike it was eventually called off when Argos management revised their earlier pay offer.

January 2009: Unite condemned the decision by Argos to close its Trafford Park distribution site with the loss of over 200 jobs.

December 2011: Agency workers officially employed by Adecco at Argos in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire held a demonstration at the Argos site at Barton Business Park “against ‘pay apartheid’ which sees their pay packets up to £120-a-week lighter than their full-time colleagues” (see video).

(Note: Judith Sprieser who served as a board member of Adecco from 2008 until 2010 is presently a director of Experian plc. This is significant because in 2006 both Experian plc and Argos’ parent company (Home Retail Group) were formed following the demerger of the long-established UK conglomerate Gus plc.)

December 2011: Workers based at the Argos ‘Eurocentral’ warehouse in Motherwell, Scotland, undertook twenty-four hours of strike action on Thursday 8th December in defence of their pension rights. The dispute organized through Unite involved over thirty-five drivers and warehouse operatives currently employed by the sub-contractor Norbert Dentressangle.

February 2012: Unite disputes Argos’ decision to close one of its most efficient distribution sites, employing about 750 staff, at Corby, Northamptonshire.

June 2012: Argos continues utilizing free labour through the government’s workfare program.

September 2012: Unite union members at four of Argos’ key regional distribution sites (Basildon, Bridgwater, Heywood and Magna Park in Leicestershire) are taking strike action against their employer’s decision to end their final salary pension scheme. The strike runs for four days from Wednesday 19 September. There will be pickets at distribution depots, and the union will be leafleting Argos stores to explain to customers what a shoddy deal Argos gives its employees.


For more information, or to join the Socialist Party visit:
www.socialistparty.o

rg.uk”
Industrial Dispute Timeline for Argos July 2008: On 17 July Argos workers in the Unite union launched a strike against an insulting pay offer of 3.8%, and the employer’s attempt to move them from weekly to monthly pay without any compensation. After a solid start to the strike it was eventually called off when Argos management revised their earlier pay offer. January 2009: Unite condemned the decision by Argos to close its Trafford Park distribution site with the loss of over 200 jobs. December 2011: Agency workers officially employed by Adecco at Argos in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire held a demonstration at the Argos site at Barton Business Park “against ‘pay apartheid’ which sees their pay packets up to £120-a-week lighter than their full-time colleagues” (see video). (Note: Judith Sprieser who served as a board member of Adecco from 2008 until 2010 is presently a director of Experian plc. This is significant because in 2006 both Experian plc and Argos’ parent company (Home Retail Group) were formed following the demerger of the long-established UK conglomerate Gus plc.) December 2011: Workers based at the Argos ‘Eurocentral’ warehouse in Motherwell, Scotland, undertook twenty-four hours of strike action on Thursday 8th December in defence of their pension rights. The dispute organized through Unite involved over thirty-five drivers and warehouse operatives currently employed by the sub-contractor Norbert Dentressangle. February 2012: Unite disputes Argos’ decision to close one of its most efficient distribution sites, employing about 750 staff, at Corby, Northamptonshire. June 2012: Argos continues utilizing free labour through the government’s workfare program. September 2012: Unite union members at four of Argos’ key regional distribution sites (Basildon, Bridgwater, Heywood and Magna Park in Leicestershire) are taking strike action against their employer’s decision to end their final salary pension scheme. The strike runs for four days from Wednesday 19 September. There will be pickets at distribution depots, and the union will be leafleting Argos stores to explain to customers what a shoddy deal Argos gives its employees. For more information, or to join the Socialist Party visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk” *SomersetSocialistParty*
  • Score: 0

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