Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 July 2008

Argos strike

Basildon distribution plant

Argos workers in the Unite union on a 24-hour strike , photo Leicester Socialist Party

Argos workers in the Unite union on a 24-hour strike , photo Leicester Socialist Party

On 17 April Argos workers in the Unite union started a 24-hour strike against an insulting pay offer of 3.8%, and the employer's attempt to move them from weekly to monthly pay without any compensation. Argos has said that they will only agree to a 4.1% rise (still well below inflation) if the workers accept a reduction in paid sick leave.

Eleanor Donne visited the picket line at the distribution plant at Basildon in Essex: "There was an excellent show of strength on the picket lines at all three entrances to the plant and the mood was positive. The pickets told me that support from workers in the distribution plant has been solid, with union membership increasing leading up to the strike. There is a lot of anger because Argos made huge profits last year and awarded their directors massive pay increases - one got a 58% rise, yet they 'can't afford' to give a decent pay rise to their low-paid staff.

"When I first approached the depot I noticed a number of people wearing suits under their high-visibility vests. It turned out that these were not exceptionally smartly dressed pickets but the site managers keeping an eye on the picket line in case of any 'intimidation'!

"Managers tried to prevent a union being built at the Basildon plant, but with membership of Unite now at 80% they have been forced to recognise it.

"Further strike action is planned for 24 July and from 31 July to 4 August if the employers don't improve their offer."

Further strike dates are:

Magna Park, Lutterworth, Leicestershire

Argos workers in the Unite union on a 24-hour strike , photo Leicester Socialist Party

Argos workers in the Unite union on a 24-hour strike , photo Leicester Socialist Party

Steve Score went to the picket line at Magna Park in Lutterworth, Leicestershire to give support from the Socialist Party.

One picket said: "The company have offered us 3.8%, with another 0.2% if we agree to cuts in our sickness entitlements... The retail price index has gone up, but the things that you have no choice to buy like food are going up even faster. I have to pay out far more money now to travel to work."

Another picket said "Argos made a hell of a lot of money last year and the directors seem to get the cream of the pot and we get - not a lot!"

Nigel Rudding, the Unite convenor said: "Today we have overwhelming support from permanent staff. However, Argos do use agency workers, and they have been threatened that they will lose their jobs if they refuse to cross the picket line.

"We all along have said we are prepared to talk. But Argos were saying this was their final offer. I am not prepared to sell off people's terms and conditions.

"We were told we would go from weekly to monthly pay with no compensation - this was without discussion, and has clouded the issues.

"Everyone has had one-to-one interviews to 'see how they can help get you into work on the strike days', where they have effectively asked workers how they voted in the ballot.

"Some of the things they were saying have been outrageous, for example telling the workforce that stewards would be paid to be on strike - outright lies!"

Heywood, Manchester

Over four hundred workers on strike, five trucks turned around and not one unionised driver gone in by 8am - solid action shut down Argos' depot in Heywood, Greater Manchester. Loud cheers greeted every wagon that turned away, while chants of "What do we want? Decent pay!" echoed down the road.

Hugh Caffrey, Manchester Socialist Party

Strikers were ordered by Argos to stand at the gates of Heywood Distribution Park rather than the gates of the Argos unit, as company policy does not allow picketing on their land!

That badly backfired, with one hundred pickets with flags and placards being loudly supported by hundreds of workers passing by on the main road. The depot was virtually shut by the union which organises the vast majority of staff, and where there are only a small handful of non-union temps and agency workers. On the picket, I spoke to Brian Bowing, Unite regional industrial organiser:

"Argos has increased its profits by 16% to 433 million, while they are offering our members a derisory 4%, well less than the rate of inflation. In addition Argos want to reduce sick pay, move to monthly pay without any compensation, and the chief executive got a 58% pay increase!

"As far as we are concerned, Argos are well able to pay our members against the backdrop of massive increases in the price of oil and food. Our members are determined to see this through until they get the decent pay increase from Argos that they so justly deserve."

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 22 July 2008:

Stop The Gas Price Rip-Off

Car taxes add to inflation misery

Local government strike

Build further action after successful council strike

Reports of the Unsion strike

Pictures of the Unison strike

Socialist Party workplace news

Argos workers strike against insulting pay offer

London bus drivers' protest

PCS strikes

Usdaw election

Socialist Party news and analysis

Punishing the jobless for being jobless

Bankers' dirty tricks?

International socialist news and analysis

Say no to military attack on Iran

Political impasse in the Kurdish region of Iraq

Pakistan: 50,000 textile workers strike


Home   |   The Socialist 22 July 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleWhat we saw


triangleUnite takes legal action against Argos

triangleEssex FBU fight lockout

triangleClacton Tory MP defects to Ukip

triangleArgos workers strike for work-life balance


triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleManchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation


triangleThree week Argos strike ends

triangleThree-week Argos distribution strike


triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


triangleWorkplace news in brief

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice