Staff at Argos supply centre vote for two-week strike over Christmas after long-running pay dispute
- UPS staff will strike from December 16 to 31 unless eleventh-hour deal is reached
- Unite the union said its members have been treated with contempt in pay row
- The union said the industrial action will inflict severe disruption over Christmas
Christmas presents from Argos will face ‘severe disruption’ over the festive period after disgruntled staff at one of the retailer’s main distribution centres voted to strike in a long-running pay row.
From December 16 to 31, UPS shunters and HGV drivers at the site in Barton, Staffordshire, will walk out and throw deliveries into chaos.
For 10 months, UPS has been at loggerheads with Unite over pay, during which time the union said its staff had been ‘treated with contempt’.
After 90 per cent of ballots were cast favour of strike action, Christmas shoppers have been warned to brace for misery over the holiday season.
UPS is still holding out for an eleventh-hour deal with workers, but has said it is putting contingency plans in place to minimise the disruption.
Christmas presents from Argos will face ‘severe disruption’ over the festive period after disgruntled staff at one of the retailer’s main distribution centres voted to strike in a long-running pay row
But Unite said its members have been waiting for an offer from delivery giant UPS in response to their pay claim since March.
It also claimed that ‘members only received an offer of a voucher scheme that was so devoid of details that it could not be put to a ballot’.
The union warned that the strike action will cause ‘severe disruption’ to Argos and ‘effectively grind work to a halt’ at one of the busiest periods of the year for the retailer.
Barton is the main distribution site for electrical items from Argos, including smart phones, laptops and televisions, before they are sent to the company’s regional warehouses.
Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: ‘Our members do not want to cause disruption for Argos customers over the Christmas period, but they have been left with no choice but to strike.
‘The treatment of these Barton workers has been disgraceful. The reputations of UPS and Argos are at risk during the peak Christmas period because of this refusal to meaningfully engage with the pay claim.
‘It is now up to UPS to ensure this dispute does not extend right across the busiest time of the year for Argos by tabling a sensible offer that our members can actually vote on.’
A UPS spokeswoman said: ‘We are aware that the Unite union intends to call industrial action for UPS staff servicing the Argos facility in Barton, Staffordshire.
‘Operational contingency plans will be put in place to minimise disruption for our customers should labour action go ahead.
‘Discussions with Unite are ongoing and we remain hopeful that a mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached. Please understand that these discussions are ongoing and we will not discuss any details in public.’
Argos has been contacted for comment.