Socialist Worker

Argos workers strike against bosses’ greed

by Adam Rose and Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2411

Argos workers on a picket line in West Yorkshire

Argos workers on a picket line in West Yorkshire (Pic: Steve Johnson)

More than 1,000 workers struck at Argos distribution centres around Britain on Thursday of last week. 

The Unite union members are angry at attacks on their terms and conditions. 

Basildon Unite rep Mark Barter said it was also about defending the union.

“Greed is the corporate knife, and it cuts deep,” he said. “The company has taken a bullying approach.”

Workers have also suffered inflation or below inflation pay rises, while bosses have had big payouts.

Three directors were given shares of £1.5 million between them. The previous chief executive was given a £4 million bonus.

After an outcry he offered to take his bonus in shares—which went on to rise in value to £10 million.

On top of this workers are also furious at bosses’ plans to change contracts which will mean all staff have to work Saturdays. This will cause havoc with workers’ childcare arrangements.

Managers also want to monitor the time it takes employees to carry out tasks.

The strike involved 400 workers in Lutterworth and a further 600 walking out in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.

The distribution centre dispatches around 30 million items a year. 

There are now plans to for further action to hit the launch of a new Argos catalogue.

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