UK News: Christmas presents could be left sitting in warehouses as Argos workers vote to strike over festive period - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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UK News Christmas presents could be left sitting in warehouses as Argos workers vote to strike over festive period

19:10  03 december  2019
19:10  03 december  2019 Source:   thisismoney.co.uk

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Argos customers could face more than a fortnight of disruption over Christmas after staff at one of the retailer's distribution centres voted to strike in a long-running pay row.

United Parcel Service (UPS) workers at Argos's distribution site in Barton, Staffordshire, voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action after a 10-month dispute over pay, the Unite union said.

Shunter and HGV drivers at the site have agreed to stage 16 days of strike action from December 16 after the union said a pay claim from March had been 'continually disregarded.'

a person standing in front of a store: Argos customers may not get their Christmas presents on time after UPS workers at a major distribution site in Staffordshire voted to strike for 16 days from December 16 © Provided by This Is Money Argos customers may not get their Christmas presents on time after UPS workers at a major distribution site in Staffordshire voted to strike for 16 days from December 16

Unite, Britain and Ireland's largest union, said its members have been 'treated with contempt' in the dispute, and those working on the site voted 90 per cent in favour of a strike, which will start at 6pm on December 16 and run until 5:59pm on December 31.

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by yet more delays and cancellations over Christmas and the new year as the RMT union has given notice of additional strikes in the heart of the festive period . But passengers could be faced with additional disruption on the two last working days before the holiday, as well as the last shopping day.

UPS said it will put contingency plans in place to 'minimise disruption' but is hopeful that an agreement can be reached with frustrated staff.

Unite said its members have been waiting for an offer from delivery giant UPS in response to their pay claim since March.

It also claimed that 'members only received an offer of a voucher scheme that was so devoid of details that it could not be put to a ballot.'

The union warned that the strike action will cause 'severe disruption' to Argos and 'effectively grind work to a halt' at one of the busiest periods of the year for the retailer.

a truck is parked on the side of a road: UPS said it will put contingency plans in place to 'minimise disruption' but is hopeful that an agreement can be reached with frustrated staff. © Provided by This Is Money UPS said it will put contingency plans in place to 'minimise disruption' but is hopeful that an agreement can be reached with frustrated staff.

Barton is the main distribution site for electrical items from Argos, including smart phones, laptops and televisions, before they are sent to the company's regional warehouses.

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Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: 'Our members do not want to cause disruption for Argos customers over the Christmas period, but they have been left with no choice but to strike.

'The treatment of these Barton workers has been disgraceful. The reputations of UPS and Argos are at risk during the peak Christmas period because of this refusal to meaningfully engage with the pay claim.

'It is now up to UPS to ensure this dispute does not extend right across the busiest time of the year for Argos by tabling a sensible offer that our members can actually vote on.'

A UPS spokeswoman said: 'We are aware that the Unite union intends to call industrial action for UPS staff servicing the Argos facility in Barton, Staffordshire.

'Operational contingency plans will be put in place to minimise disruption for our customers should labour action go ahead.

a man holding a sign: RMT members protest outside Waterloo Station. They have voted to go on strike for 27 days this month due to a dispute over the role of guards on a new fleet of trains © Provided by This Is Money RMT members protest outside Waterloo Station. They have voted to go on strike for 27 days this month due to a dispute over the role of guards on a new fleet of trains

'Discussions with Unite are ongoing and we remain hopeful that a mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached. Please understand that these discussions are ongoing and we will not discuss any details in public.'

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With pre- Christmas strikes planned on the rail network and by airlines, thousands of travellers are set to be affected over the festive period . Are any other rail companies planning to strike over the Christmas period ? She warned "they could be shooting themselves in the foot".

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The retail sector is not the only sector to directly experience disruption over Christmas due to strikes. Yesterday, 900 train guards on South Western Railway (SWR) started a 27-day walkout over the role of guards on a new fleet of trains.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) claim the strikes are in the interests of public safety, but SWR say not allowing drivers to operate train doors would make trains less efficient.

The 'Scrooge strike' is expected to cost businesses in London up to £400million and will badly affect commuters living in Surrey and Hampshire.

Royal Mail was also threatened with a strike action over the festive period, but the postal service won an injunction preventing the Communication Workers' Union from calling a strike. They also won an appeal against the decision last week.

Universities and hospitals in Northern Ireland are also currently experiencing strike action. The University and College Union (UCU) voted to strike from 25 November until tomorrow over disputes about pensions, and pay and working conditions.

Today, nurses in Northern Ireland began a 24-hour strike over pay and staffing levels. All six health trusts in Northern Ireland have said the action would be 'a significant risk to patient safety.'

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