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Argos Christmas delivery faces disruption as UPS workers back strike

Argos is facing disruption to its deliveries over Christmas after workers at a UPS distribution centre voted to strike.

Members of the union Unite working at Argos’s main distribution centre at Barton in Staffordshire voted to strike with a majority of 90%.

The employees, who work as shunter and HGV drivers, will take part in a 15-day strike, scheduled to begin at 6PM on 17 December and end at 5:59 on 31 December.

Unite submitted a demand for a pay rise in March but said the only response had been a voucher scheme which lacked sufficient detail to put it to a members’ ballot.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “Unite has been waiting for an offer in response to our members pay claim since March. Drivers and shunters have been treated with contempt and have had enough.

“UPS is claiming that it has engaged with the pay claim. In reality, our members only received an offer of a voucher scheme that was so devoid of details that it could not be put to a ballot.

“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.”

In an emailed statement, UPS 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.

“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.

Royal Mail avoided a strike by workers during peak season after the High Court ruled that a ballot by the Communication Workers Union was unlawful.

[UPDATED 11:37 AM to include UPS comment.]