Argos drivers to go on strike for Christmas

Tis the season to be striking, Fa la la la la, la la la la!

As if it wasn’t enough for CWU Post Office workers to go on Strike for 5 days from the 19th and ASLEF and RMT Southern Rail employees to be in the middle of a three day walkout, now Unite Argos delivery drivers are to withdraw their labour for three days starting on the 19th December.

Edited to add: On the 14th December Wincanton and Unite reached a confidential deal (for which read both parties gave ground but don’t want to admit it). All proposed strike action has been suspended pending a ballot of their members.

wincanton-hmThe drivers don’t actually work for Argos but for haulage company Wincanton and are based at Argos’ national distribution centre in Staffordshire. This warehouse distributes goods to seven regional Argos distribution centres which in a hub and spoke arrangement replenish each individual Argos store.

It is absolutely no accident that the drivers are aiming to cause as much disruption as possible to consumer’s Christmases or “havoc and chaos” as Unite term it. What better time of year to wage war and hold a company to ransom? Unite point out that there will be a lot of very unhappy Argos customers if they don’t receive goods ordered as presents for relatives this Christmas and said “We can assure Argos customers that strike dates are only being announced as a last resort and that Unite’s door is open 24/7 to try and settle this long-standing dispute“.

Seeing as the dispute has been running for two years, I can’t help wondering why Unite didn’t call the strike back in November or wait until January and the answer is of course Unite want to cause as much misery to consumers as possible and the more children in tears on Christmas morning the better as far as they’re concerned, although of course they insist it’s all Wincanton’s fault.

sainsburys-ebay-click-and-collectArgos do say that they have contingency plans in place and are working hard to ensure deliveries aren’t affected. The good news is that the strike should not affect eBay Click and Collect orders in any way as these are delivered direct into the store located nearest to the end customer.

Whilst in the past there was a healthy amount of public sympathy for striking workers, the CWU found dwindling support in their last Royal Mail Christmas strikes a few years back. The public appeared to get fed up with being held to ransom by the posties every couple of years and if Argos can’t deliver this Christmas then customers will probably just switch their custom to arch rival Amazon instead.