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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 July 2008
Argos warehouse workers vote to strike
Argos distribution workers have voted by 67% to strike over pay. A senior steward for Unite at the Argos distribution centre in Basildon, spoke to The Socialist about the dispute and about organising distribution workers:
"We will be striking over our annual pay deal and the move from weekly to monthly pay. Argos make millions in profits, yet they only offered us a 3.8% pay rise when inflation was running at 4.1%.
They did say they would offer us 4.1% but that would be at the cost of eating into our sickness scheme. They have already cut into this before so it is clear the company want to get rid of it.
The directors give themselves big pay rises and bonuses, so it is an insult to us to say there is no money.
On the move from weekly to monthly pay, we've asked for a one-off payment to cover the transitional period when we have to go without money.
The union's concern is that our members don't lose out financially.
At the moment they are offering us loans, with £40 a month repayments, which is completely unacceptable. With the cost of living going up, an additional payment of £40 a month could mean the difference between losing our home and keeping it. Yet the company seems quite miffed that we want money for this change.
As we've explained to them, we're low-waged unskilled workers. Many are already up their eyes in debt with CCJs etc and they can't afford loan payments.
On our site the manager originally said we would bring the union in over his dead body. But we have got organised so now we have 80% membership.
We've had about 15 people join in the last few weeks.
We're trying to recruit agency staff at the moment. We have been successful in recruiting Polish workers who have been really supportive of us. They are some of the most vocal for the strike.
Originally they were tied to an employment agency and tied to houses but we've stopped that. Now the migrant workers have broken down the barriers by standing side by side with us trying to improve our pay and conditions. The company would prefer to divide and rule."
Send messages of support to: Jennie.Formby@unitetheunion.com
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In The Socialist 9 July 2008:
Striking back against low pay
Campaign for a New Workers Party
The working class needs its own party
CNWP conference: Wanted - a new mass workers' party
Socialist Party news and analysis
UK economy sliding into recession
Rich get richer: Why should we pay the price!
MP backs student fees campaign
Bonuses for chiefs, pay restraint for civil service workers
Government lies on public-sector pay
High farce from Boris Johnson
G8 leaders' 'world hunger' banquet
On the other side of the financial divide...
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Defend the NHS!
Property deals threaten private nursing homes
Cancer vaccines: who decides?
Marxist analysis: history
Terry Fields: A socialist voice that rocked Whitehall
Socialist Party LGBT
Marching against homophobia & racism
Socialist Party workplace news
Argos warehouse workers vote to strike
DWP strikes bring talks
National Shop Stewards Network Conference: Organising migrant workers
A day in the life of a call centre worker
Call centre charter: A framework for workers' rights
RMT conference discusses crisis of political representation
Shop Workers' Union Usdaw
Socialist stands for Usdaw general secretary
The Socialist 9 July 2008 |
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