MORE than 100 Argos warehouse staff at the Bridgwater distribution centre walked out on strike for 24 hours on Friday (July 4) in a dispute over terms and conditions.
They joined around 1,000 members of warehouse staff employed by Argos at five distribution centres across the UK who took part in protest over increased weekend working – which they say will have an adverse impact on their family lives.
The strike, organised by Unite the Union, ran from 6am on Friday to 6am on Saturday.
Speaking from the picket line, one worker who did not wish to be named, said: “We’ve had really good support, with around 130 members taking part.”
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: “Argos has a five-year transformation plan to become a digital retail leader, which involves creating 350 new permanent Distribution jobs.
“We have also proposed changes to our Distribution employees’ terms and conditions and have been engaging colleagues to introduce them.
“98 % 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.”
But Matt Draper, Unite national officer for road transport and logistics, said members have suffered the equivalent of “being mugged”.
He added: “Argos imposed the changes, setting a date to accept; if workers didn’t, they would lose the money and be dismissed and re-engaged without the money.
“If they still refused to agree they would then be dismissed from the company.
“While the company are factually correct, the real truth is our members have been forced to sell their terms and conditions to the company.
“We’re still looking for the company to return to the negotiating table and relax the strict criteria they’ve imposed upon us.”