Strike action at Argos NDC…?

Unite the union has announced that Wincanton drivers based at the Argos National Distribution Centre (NDC) have voted to strike for three days commencing on Tuesday the 20th December.

Unite has released a statement that says “the delivery of Christmas gifts from Argos, such as iPhones, could be seriously disrupted”.

According to the union, drivers voted by 83% to strike and 95% for industrial action short of a strike. The strike has been called over what Unite describes as “Wincanton’s failure to honour holiday back pay for at least the last two years”.

The NDC in Staffordshire supplies seven other Argos NDCs around the UK which in turn deliver goods to Argos shops. According to Unite the strike will have a knock on effect that will cause ‘havoc and mayhem’ to deliveries in the crucial run up to Christmas.

The dispute is around the way that holiday pay is calculated. Management has offered to backdate the holiday pay from April 2016.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle commented: “We can assure Argos customers that strike dates are only being announced as a last resort and that Unite’s door is open 24/7 to try and settle this long-standing dispute.”

In a separate dispute, Wincanton drivers working at the Argos centre in Basildon in Essex are voting on whether to take industrial action over a disciplinary system relating to ‘uncontrolled vehicle movements’. This ballot result is due on Friday (16 December).

As ever the announcement of a strike is often a negotiating tool and may not in fact happen if the employers back down. Given the chaos that this could cause in the last few days before Christmas, management’s minds will be focused on a resolution.

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