200 workers walk out in Argos strike action

Echo: 200 workers walk out in Argos strike action 200 workers walk out in Argos strike action

NEARLY 200 staff walked out at a huge distribution warehouse in a dispute over working hours.

Argos, in Miles Gray Road, Basildon, saw members of the union Unite voted to take strike action.

Workers are planning to stay at the picket line for 18 hours – from 6am until midnight today.

More than 1,000 Argos workers in total, including those from distribution centres in Somerset, Leicestershire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire, will take strike action.

It follows a dispute over terms and conditions, which will see staff working more weekend and night shifts.

Unite argues this will “adversely impact” family life, with many employees having to juggle childcare arrangements.

Argos has offered distribution staff a one-off payment of £2,400, but this has been rejected by the union.

Matt Draper, Unite officer for road transport and logistics, said: “The crux of the dispute is Argos’s 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 worklife balance. Some of our members already work weekends, but that was agreed with Unite.

“The new proposals impact much more on family life.

“The management has offered a one-off payment of £2,400, which, quite frankly, is woefully inadequate, given the massive changes in shift patterns that are being proposed for the years ahead.

“We predict Friday’s strike will cause substantial disruption to the deliveries to customers.”

Argos also wants to introduce a new measuring system for quality of work, which Unite believes will be used as a tool to sack staff. 

CHANGES ARE PART OF RETAILERS 5-YEAR PLAN

CHANGES to terms and conditions are part of a five-year plan to transform Argos.

The firm wants to focus on becoming a leading digital retailer, and admits distribution staff are “key to the success of this plan”.

As many as 350 new jobs are set to be created and changes are being made to existing contracts, which Argos claims 99.8 per cent of workers have already agreed to.

Bosses have put contingency plans in place to ensure the business runs as smoothly as possible today, as 1,000 distribution staff across the country take strike action.

A company spokesman said: “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 contingency plans to ensure a normal service for customers.”

Comments (15)

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1:04pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Howard Cháse says...

They'll just find workers who areprepared to do these shifts with no problems. Plenty of people looking for a job.
They'll just find workers who areprepared to do these shifts with no problems. Plenty of people looking for a job. Howard Cháse
  • Score: 9

2:02pm Fri 4 Jul 14

John Right says...

Sack the lot of them, then offer them a job under the new terms and conditions, in the meantime get rid of all the slackers and shirkers
Sack the lot of them, then offer them a job under the new terms and conditions, in the meantime get rid of all the slackers and shirkers John Right
  • Score: -23

3:33pm Fri 4 Jul 14

emcee says...

John Right wrote:
Sack the lot of them, then offer them a job under the new terms and conditions, in the meantime get rid of all the slackers and shirkers
Doesn't quite work like that. There are certain rules a company or organisation has to adhere to when "restructuring".
However, having said that, as long as nobody is losing out financially or they have to work MORE hours for the same (or less) pay, I do not see an issue. These workers may well have to change their working hours anyway if they were made redundant and had to work elsewhere.

In this current climate of e-retail, these workers need to realise that companies need to shuffle things about a bit to get the best for the company otherwise it may mean the company cannot compete, ending up there being no company at all. They (the employees) need to be thankful the reworking of the shift patterns does not mean they will lose their jobs. The only issue to concern them should be the amount of pay they recieve for the work they do and the number of hours they are required to work to recieve that pay, not WHEN they are required to do this work.
[quote][p][bold]John Right[/bold] wrote: Sack the lot of them, then offer them a job under the new terms and conditions, in the meantime get rid of all the slackers and shirkers[/p][/quote]Doesn't quite work like that. There are certain rules a company or organisation has to adhere to when "restructuring". However, having said that, as long as nobody is losing out financially or they have to work MORE hours for the same (or less) pay, I do not see an issue. These workers may well have to change their working hours anyway if they were made redundant and had to work elsewhere. In this current climate of e-retail, these workers need to realise that companies need to shuffle things about a bit to get the best for the company otherwise it may mean the company cannot compete, ending up there being no company at all. They (the employees) need to be thankful the reworking of the shift patterns does not mean they will lose their jobs. The only issue to concern them should be the amount of pay they recieve for the work they do and the number of hours they are required to work to recieve that pay, not WHEN they are required to do this work. emcee
  • Score: -2

4:05pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Kim Gandy says...

Howard Cháse wrote:
They'll just find workers who areprepared to do these shifts with no problems. Plenty of people looking for a job.
Yes absolutely, foreign workers who are happy to work double shifts and sign themselves out of the European Working Directive. And better still, they'll do it for minimum wage. And they will do as they're told without question even if what they have to say is common sense.

Have you ever objected to pay and conditions or have you just put up and shut up? Or perhaps you're a highly paid penpusher. I don't know. I leave the assumptions to the little army of Echo website "experts".

People have family lives and are entitled to NOT want weekends constantly disrupted. They have every right to a family life. I have done jobs that include weekends, bank holidays and Christmas Day but I'm afraid employers just have to compromise and work something out that suits all. There is no reason why anyone should be forced to work several weekends on the trot. Surely one on, one off, or somesuch arrangement.

Often "management" are deliberately unyielding and in my experience are notoriously bad at listening to their workers, in fact, they don't listen at all.

As long as the fat profits keep rolling in, pull the ladder up Jack.
[quote][p][bold]Howard Cháse[/bold] wrote: They'll just find workers who areprepared to do these shifts with no problems. Plenty of people looking for a job.[/p][/quote]Yes absolutely, foreign workers who are happy to work double shifts and sign themselves out of the European Working Directive. And better still, they'll do it for minimum wage. And they will do as they're told without question even if what they have to say is common sense. Have you ever objected to pay and conditions or have you just put up and shut up? Or perhaps you're a highly paid penpusher. I don't know. I leave the assumptions to the little army of Echo website "experts". People have family lives and are entitled to NOT want weekends constantly disrupted. They have every right to a family life. I have done jobs that include weekends, bank holidays and Christmas Day but I'm afraid employers just have to compromise and work something out that suits all. There is no reason why anyone should be forced to work several weekends on the trot. Surely one on, one off, or somesuch arrangement. Often "management" are deliberately unyielding and in my experience are notoriously bad at listening to their workers, in fact, they don't listen at all. As long as the fat profits keep rolling in, pull the ladder up Jack. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 19

4:30pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Audioman says...

UNITE again the worse union inthe counrty thay just want to close
eveything down
UNITE again the worse union inthe counrty thay just want to close eveything down Audioman
  • Score: -13

4:32pm Fri 4 Jul 14

n-unknown says...

Unfortunately, in this day and age and when you're easily replaceable, you need to expect the big companies try and attempt to exploit and push their employees to the maximum.

Anyone can be an w**ker and side with the businesses/corporati
ons and say "sack 'em!", but have you ever asked yourself why you're siding with the corporation whose sole goal is to make a profit using your money?

I honestly feel for the workers. I would hate to have my contract hours turned upside down, but thankfully that will never happen in my profession. The only true solution would be to leave Argos (at your own free will) and let Argos employ individuals who are willing to work the 'slave' shifts.
Unfortunately, in this day and age and when you're easily replaceable, you need to expect the big companies try and attempt to exploit and push their employees to the maximum. Anyone can be an w**ker and side with the businesses/corporati ons and say "sack 'em!", but have you ever asked yourself why you're siding with the corporation whose sole goal is to make a profit using your money? I honestly feel for the workers. I would hate to have my contract hours turned upside down, but thankfully that will never happen in my profession. The only true solution would be to leave Argos (at your own free will) and let Argos employ individuals who are willing to work the 'slave' shifts. n-unknown
  • Score: 27

5:01pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Dan_ says...

Good for them. At a time when the government has just introduced flexible working for more people to try and make work/family balance more manageable, Argos are simultaneously trying to disrupt their employees by, it sounds like, forcing them work unsociable hours. Fine if that's what you signed up for, but if you took the job on the basis of a regular 9-5 and your employer then suddenly wants to change the rules to suit it's own ends - that's not cool. If they want people to work odd hours, take on NEW people that are willing, not bully people who already work for you to work when they don't want to. Home Retail Group posted profits of £99m last year, they have £400m banked, and they have no debt - they're not exactly about to slide into the toilet, so why be such a holes? (p.s. I don't work for Argos, never have, but despise the way the retail industry treats it's employees).
Good for them. At a time when the government has just introduced flexible working for more people to try and make work/family balance more manageable, Argos are simultaneously trying to disrupt their employees by, it sounds like, forcing them work unsociable hours. Fine if that's what you signed up for, but if you took the job on the basis of a regular 9-5 and your employer then suddenly wants to change the rules to suit it's own ends - that's not cool. If they want people to work odd hours, take on NEW people that are willing, not bully people who already work for you to work when they don't want to. Home Retail Group posted profits of £99m last year, they have £400m banked, and they have no debt - they're not exactly about to slide into the toilet, so why be such a holes? (p.s. I don't work for Argos, never have, but despise the way the retail industry treats it's employees). Dan_
  • Score: 34

6:38pm Fri 4 Jul 14

scrounger‎ says...

Nice to see working people stand up for themselves.
Nice to see working people stand up for themselves. scrounger‎
  • Score: 21

10:58pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Joe Clark says...

Audioman wrote:
UNITE again the worse union inthe counrty thay just want to close
eveything down
You left out stall the recovery and send the economy back into recession.

Best thing I ever done was to tell the union rep where to stick his demand that I sign up!
[quote][p][bold]Audioman[/bold] wrote: UNITE again the worse union inthe counrty thay just want to close eveything down[/p][/quote]You left out stall the recovery and send the economy back into recession. Best thing I ever done was to tell the union rep where to stick his demand that I sign up! Joe Clark
  • Score: -9

11:39pm Fri 4 Jul 14

shoebury52 says...

There was no way 200 people on the picket line at Basildon.
There was no way 200 people on the picket line at Basildon. shoebury52
  • Score: -2

9:15am Sat 5 Jul 14

SJLawton says...

The changes to the contracts are appalling with workers being asked to go from a 37.5 hour week to a 40 hour week without a change in earnings. The offer of £2400 is an amount that Argos will cover within the first year of bringing in the changes due to the increase in productivity measures it is introducing alongside the contract changes. These changes do not have any cost to the business. For employees though it is a different matter. The proposals see workers going from a 4 week rota to a 12 weeks rota, where workers currently work 2/4 weekends they are being asked to work 8/12. But this rota has no consistency to it. Therefore child care arrangements would be virtually impossible to make unless you use family. There is no same day off on any week and weekend work varies between Sundays and Saturdays. Some weeks both days. As a worker in retail I understand the need for change to work to customer demand but changes that mean no family life at all are unacceptable. As already stated the government want to open up flexible working to more people.
Add to this that Argos are trying to introduce changes to the contracts that have not been negotiated on and that some the 99% of people that have already signed have done so under duress rather than out of choice.
What these workers are doing is making a stand to say they will not say yes to working more hours for the same pay, work harder in those hours due to new productivity measures, lose out of family life, and not be compensated in a reasonable way. Argos a company that is doing well currently can afford to support these workers in these changes. But they don't stop there. Part of the contract states these contracts can be renegotiated 3 items a year. I find it hard to believe anyone would cope with a job where your hours could be completely changed with 4 weeks notice 3 times a year.
Yes jobs are scarce these days but does that give big corporations the right to make jobs as unattractive as possible knowing someone will take it. We wonder why Family life has deteriorated in society, this is probably a contributing factor!
The changes to the contracts are appalling with workers being asked to go from a 37.5 hour week to a 40 hour week without a change in earnings. The offer of £2400 is an amount that Argos will cover within the first year of bringing in the changes due to the increase in productivity measures it is introducing alongside the contract changes. These changes do not have any cost to the business. For employees though it is a different matter. The proposals see workers going from a 4 week rota to a 12 weeks rota, where workers currently work 2/4 weekends they are being asked to work 8/12. But this rota has no consistency to it. Therefore child care arrangements would be virtually impossible to make unless you use family. There is no same day off on any week and weekend work varies between Sundays and Saturdays. Some weeks both days. As a worker in retail I understand the need for change to work to customer demand but changes that mean no family life at all are unacceptable. As already stated the government want to open up flexible working to more people. Add to this that Argos are trying to introduce changes to the contracts that have not been negotiated on and that some the 99% of people that have already signed have done so under duress rather than out of choice. What these workers are doing is making a stand to say they will not say yes to working more hours for the same pay, work harder in those hours due to new productivity measures, lose out of family life, and not be compensated in a reasonable way. Argos a company that is doing well currently can afford to support these workers in these changes. But they don't stop there. Part of the contract states these contracts can be renegotiated 3 items a year. I find it hard to believe anyone would cope with a job where your hours could be completely changed with 4 weeks notice 3 times a year. Yes jobs are scarce these days but does that give big corporations the right to make jobs as unattractive as possible knowing someone will take it. We wonder why Family life has deteriorated in society, this is probably a contributing factor! SJLawton
  • Score: 20

5:24pm Sat 5 Jul 14

John Right says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
Howard Cháse wrote:
They'll just find workers who areprepared to do these shifts with no problems. Plenty of people looking for a job.
Yes absolutely, foreign workers who are happy to work double shifts and sign themselves out of the European Working Directive. And better still, they'll do it for minimum wage. And they will do as they're told without question even if what they have to say is common sense.

Have you ever objected to pay and conditions or have you just put up and shut up? Or perhaps you're a highly paid penpusher. I don't know. I leave the assumptions to the little army of Echo website "experts".

People have family lives and are entitled to NOT want weekends constantly disrupted. They have every right to a family life. I have done jobs that include weekends, bank holidays and Christmas Day but I'm afraid employers just have to compromise and work something out that suits all. There is no reason why anyone should be forced to work several weekends on the trot. Surely one on, one off, or somesuch arrangement.

Often "management" are deliberately unyielding and in my experience are notoriously bad at listening to their workers, in fact, they don't listen at all.

As long as the fat profits keep rolling in, pull the ladder up Jack.
Poles and Lithuanians would be my favourite choice
As they're more than content with work, not a voice.
4 quid a hour and they'd gladly toil away,
Agreeing that some union won't manipulate what they say.
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Howard Cháse[/bold] wrote: They'll just find workers who areprepared to do these shifts with no problems. Plenty of people looking for a job.[/p][/quote]Yes absolutely, foreign workers who are happy to work double shifts and sign themselves out of the European Working Directive. And better still, they'll do it for minimum wage. And they will do as they're told without question even if what they have to say is common sense. Have you ever objected to pay and conditions or have you just put up and shut up? Or perhaps you're a highly paid penpusher. I don't know. I leave the assumptions to the little army of Echo website "experts". People have family lives and are entitled to NOT want weekends constantly disrupted. They have every right to a family life. I have done jobs that include weekends, bank holidays and Christmas Day but I'm afraid employers just have to compromise and work something out that suits all. There is no reason why anyone should be forced to work several weekends on the trot. Surely one on, one off, or somesuch arrangement. Often "management" are deliberately unyielding and in my experience are notoriously bad at listening to their workers, in fact, they don't listen at all. As long as the fat profits keep rolling in, pull the ladder up Jack.[/p][/quote]Poles and Lithuanians would be my favourite choice As they're more than content with work, not a voice. 4 quid a hour and they'd gladly toil away, Agreeing that some union won't manipulate what they say. John Right
  • Score: -4

7:01am Mon 7 Jul 14

alarminstaller says...

Brining politics into this dispute is the worst thing for the employees.

In reality these days we are in a 'cut throat' market with internet sales and ease of buying, free parking etc.

The company does need to give reasonable consideration to staff however workers protection in this country is actually very good and pay in general is good, that is very easy to actually see by the amount of Eastern Europeans fighting to gain entry to our work place.

It is a cold fact of life that an employer will and must employ the best and most hardest working employee which unfortunately appears to be those that have got off their backsides and moved 1000's of miles to find work that is to do with reality, and right or wrong is a fact of life.
We in this country have many that unless they find work at the end of the road they find it easier to live on state handouts !! (Lazy)
My own son has had to work abroad to keep in employment.

What is really needed is for workers here to realise that shopping methods have changed shopping hours have changed we can now sit at home and buy anything on the net 24 hours per day Fact !

If a company cannot compete in that environment then it WILL collapse and then all those strikers will have achieved nothing other than the loss's of their jobs.

There is a need to 'stop look and listen' like crossing the road employment these days is a gamble in the world of 24 hour shopping.

Argos struggle to compete.
Brining politics into this dispute is the worst thing for the employees. In reality these days we are in a 'cut throat' market with internet sales and ease of buying, free parking etc. The company does need to give reasonable consideration to staff however workers protection in this country is actually very good and pay in general is good, that is very easy to actually see by the amount of Eastern Europeans fighting to gain entry to our work place. It is a cold fact of life that an employer will and must employ the best and most hardest working employee which unfortunately appears to be those that have got off their backsides and moved 1000's of miles to find work that is to do with reality, and right or wrong is a fact of life. We in this country have many that unless they find work at the end of the road they find it easier to live on state handouts !! (Lazy) My own son has had to work abroad to keep in employment. What is really needed is for workers here to realise that shopping methods have changed shopping hours have changed we can now sit at home and buy anything on the net 24 hours per day Fact ! If a company cannot compete in that environment then it WILL collapse and then all those strikers will have achieved nothing other than the loss's of their jobs. There is a need to 'stop look and listen' like crossing the road employment these days is a gamble in the world of 24 hour shopping. Argos struggle to compete. alarminstaller
  • Score: 0

7:34am Mon 7 Jul 14

The King of Southend says...

Well done Argos workers. Fight the power!
Well done Argos workers. Fight the power! The King of Southend
  • Score: 5

10:15am Mon 7 Jul 14

pembury53 says...

they should rebrand, at the same time as changing the T&C's, to Argoski...
they should rebrand, at the same time as changing the T&C's, to Argoski... pembury53
  • Score: 1
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