Argos drivers are striking on the days before Christmas

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Argos drivers are striking over holiday back pay (Source: Getty)

Christmas deliveries are set to be disrupted by Argos drivers, who today announced they will go on strike in the 72 hours up to Christmas over pay disputes, the Unite union said.

The drivers, who voted 83 per cent in favour of striking, work for Wincanton based at Argos' flagship national distribution centre.

The union said services could be "seriously disrupted" causing "havoc and mayhem" because of Wincanton's failure to honour holiday back pay.

The strike will last three days, commencing Tuesday 20 December.

Wincanton has not honoured holiday back pay for at least the last two years and owes about £700 per driver, the union said.

The strike will cause a knock-on effect, the union said, because the national distribution centre supplies the other seven Argos distribution centres across the UK, which in turn deliver to individual Argos shops.

According to Unite, management offered to backdate holiday pay from April this year, but the union said pay should cover at least the last two years.

Wincanton drivers working at an Argos centre in Basildon in Essex are in the midst of a separate dispute. They will vote on whether to take industrial action over a disciplinary system relating to "uncontrolled vehicle movements", and the decision is due Friday 16 December.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said:

The drivers have patiently tried to resolve this matter for over two years. Now they would like the money they are owed in time for Christmas, which is not unreasonable.

It is very difficult to understand why Wincanton has allowed this saga to get out of hand because this strike by our members will cause havoc and mayhem to deliveries to Argos shops in the run-up to Christmas.

Coyle said there would be some "very unhappy Argos customers", but assured them the strike has come as a last resort.

Wincanton has not yet responded for comment.

​An Argos spokesperson said:

We would encourage both sides to keep talking with the aim of coming to a swift resolution. We also have contingency plans in place and can reassure customers we’re working hard to ensure this will not impact our deliveries this Christmas.

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