Argos workers strike over final salary pension dispute

ARGOS has vowed that customers will be unaffected by strike action being threatened by staff in a dispute over pensions.

The retailer, part of the Home Retail Group, is consulting on proposals to close its final salary pension scheme. Unite, which represents the 1,200 drivers and warehouse employees who went on strike this week, has called for Argos to go to the conciliation service Acas in order to resolve the dispute.

Staff from the distribution centres at Castleford, Heywood, Lutterworth, Basildon and Bridgewater went on strike on Wednesday and will not return to work until Monday at 6am.

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Unite has accused Argos of hypocrisy for closing the final pension scheme when Home Retail Group chief executive Terry Duddy will receive an annual pension of £181,000 from a pot of nearly £5m.

Unite national officer Paul Davies said: “Unite was hoping for a last-minute breakthrough with the company before the strike started, but the management has been impervious to reason.

“Our members have gone on strike and this has caused considerable disruption to store deliveries for the company. We would like this dispute to go to Acas, but if Argos does not agree more strikes could be on the cards, once our members have been consulted on the next moves.”

A spokesman for Argos said: “Despite only 30 per cent of union members voting in favour of industrial action, Unite have decided to proceed with strike action. This action will only impact a proportion of our distribution network and stores are unaffected. We have a range of contingency measures to draw on.”