Due to salary issues, employees of United Parcel Service UK Barton plan to hold a 15-day strike before Christmas. Affected by this, the distribution service of Argos, one of the largest e-commerce retail companies in the UK, may be interrupted during the peak season.
The Barton Union said that the union had submitted a salary increase application to United Parcel Company in March 2019, but the company has been unattended. As a result, employees of United Parcel's loaders and heavy truck drivers in the area are planning to hold strikes at the Argos distribution center in Barton starting December 17. The union said that union members have voted on the matter, with a support rate of more than 90%.
If the strike is held as scheduled, it will adversely affect Argos' business during the Christmas season. Argos ranks fourth on the UK e-commerce site, with the top three being Amazon, eBay and fashion retailer ASOS. Argos relies on the parent company's main online business and has more than 800 offline physical stores in the UK and Ireland. Argos sells a wide range of products, including electronics, home and garden products, clothing, toys, and sports equipment. Its distribution center in Barton is also a national network hub, and is mainly relied on United Parcel Service. All high-end electronic products such as smartphones, laptops, and televisions must be sent to regional distribution centers through the distribution center, and then shipped to stores. For planned strikes, the union has issued a warning that if employees such as loaders and heavy truck drivers stop working, the Barton distribution centre will not be able to operate normally. The business of Argos and its parent company Sainsbury will also be severely disrupted during peak business seasons.
Rick Coyle, a Barton Union official, said union members did not want to cause Argos trouble during Christmas but they had no choice but to strike. At this time, it is uncertain whether the situation will worsen and affect the shopping season at Argos. "It all depends on whether Union Parcel Service's solution can be supported by union members."
United Parcel Service said it was a deliberate attempt by the union to incite employees to strike. Once the strike begins, emergency plans will be launched in a timely manner to minimize adverse effects on customers. At present, United Parcel Service is still communicating with the union on this matter, hoping to find a solution that is satisfactory to both parties.