Argos staff to strike over work-life balance

Around 1,000 Argos employees based at five distribution centres are to strike for 24 hours on Friday 4 July in a dispute over terms and conditions, including changes to working hours that could have an adverse impact on their work-life balance.


The changes to terms and conditions are part of a five-year transformation plan for the retailer, which is part of Home Retail Group.

The changes include a new 24/7 shift pattern, which would see more employees working at weekends.

The organisation has also offered employees who accept the new shift pattern a one-off payment of £2,000.

A spokesperson from Argos said: “Argos has a five-year transformation plan to become a digital retail leader, which involves matching our digital and in-store services to customers’ shopping preferences.

“We have also proposed changes to our distribution employees’ terms and conditions, and have been engaging staff to introduce them.

“99.8% of our distribution employees have already accepted the changes to their contract, and we are working hard to understand and address any outstanding queries or issues.

“We believe the proposed changes represent the best outcome for the security of our employees and Argos alike. As such, we are now asking employees to accept the changes to their contract in order to help us realise our transformation plan.

“We have been advised of the strike, and have contingency plans in place to ensure a normal service for our customers.”

Matt Draper, national officer for road transport and logistics at union Unite, said: “The crux to the dispute is Argos’ determination to push through a new 24/7 shift pattern, without offering our members a decent compensation package to offset the severe disruptions 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 organisation’s plans will seriously undermine work-life 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 [£2,000], which, quite frankly, is woefully inadequate, given the massive changes in shift patterns that are being proposed for the years ahead.

“The proposals also include a new measuring system for their work which, we believe, could be used as a tool to dismiss workers.

“We urge the employer to return to the negotiating table and relax the new strict criteria. This would allow us to reach agreement, once the management has recognised the impact its plans will have on our members’ lives.”