Argos delivery drivers call off three-day strike

Union to ballot members on pay deal, but Christmas deliveries will be unaffected


Argos delivery drivers have called off a three-day strike that threatened to play havoc with customers' Christmas-present orders.

Drivers working out of the main delivery hub near Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, voted on Tuesday for strike action. The walkout would have covered the three days leading up to the day before Christmas Eve.

Staff at the centre are employed by Wincanton, an outsourced logistics firm contracted by the Sainsbury's-owned company to make its deliveries.

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"They had claimed Wincanton failed to pay holiday back pay for two years, amounting to an average of £700," says the BBC.

Following talks at the conciliation services Acas, a confidential pay deal has been reached that has been recommended to members. Strike action has been suspended and a further ballot will now be held to approve the terms.

"I would like to thank our members for the solidarity they have shown during this dispute and we look forward to a positive relationship with the management at Wincanton going forward," said Rick Coyle, the regional officer for the Unite union.

A Wincanton spokesperson said: "All industrial action has now been suspended pending a ballot on the terms of the agreement among Unite members and at this important time of year, the Argos business will be unaffected."

Argos drivers vote for three-day strike before Christmas

14 December

Argos drivers have voted in favour of a 72-hour strike in the immediate run-up to Christmas, according to the drivers' union.

Deliveries of thousands of Christmas gifts are at risk after Unite members voted in overwhelming numbers for the walkout. The drivers claim that Argos has failed to honour holiday back pay for the past two years, amounting to an average of £700 per worker.

Drivers are set to start the three-day strike on Tuesday. They will not return to work until Christmas eve – too late for many who have ordered presents.

The dispute centres on Argos's flagship distribution centre at Wincanton in Staffordshire, which acts as the hub of the chain's operation.

Drivers working at an Argos centre in Basildon will vote this week on whether to take industrial action over a separate dispute.

"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," said Unite's regional officer Rick Coyle.

Argos managers have sought to play down the potential impact of the strike, saying that they have "contingency plans in place to ensure this will not impact deliveries this Christmas".

The news "will heap more misery on those expecting Christmas presents to arrive in time for the festive season and comes a day after thousands of Post Office workers announced their own five-day walkout starting next week", says The Independent.

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