Agency workers at Argos in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire demonstrated on 22nd December against ‘pay apartheid’ which sees their pay packets up to £120-a-week lighter than their full-time colleagues.
Workers employed by Adecco, held whistle-blowing demonstration at the Argos site at Barton Business Park. Top bosses from Argos, the UK’s leading general goods retailer, will be visted the business park at that time.
Unite, who represent the agency workers, said that Argos and Adecco were putting pressure on the agency workers to sign new ‘Swedish Derogation’ contracts, which will mean that they won’t receive a £3-an-hour pay rise on Christmas Eve – a total of about £120-a-week.
This would have given them pay parity with the 330 full-time staff employed by Argos at the site doing similar distribution, transport and admin jobs. Unite regional officer, Rick Coyle said: ‘This is a cynical ploy, just days before Christmas, to avoid paying vulnerable workers a fair rate for the job. The sense of injustice is so strong it risks bringing Argos and Adecco into disrepute. Strife at Argos will continue until this vital issue is resolved.’
The so-called ‘Swedish Derogation’ is a loophole in the pay parity aspects of the new EU Agency Worker Regulations and is being used by companies to avoid paying equal pay to agency workers. Agency workers complain they are being bullied and pressurised into sign the derogation. The derogation provides employment directly with an agency who are then responsible for pay rates and assignments.
Unite said that the 200 workers at Argos who refused to sign the ‘derogation’ contract will be ‘given help to find another job’. Workers had been expecting a pay rise on 24 December of about £3-an-hour. Instead, they have been told to accept a contract that states they agree to not getting any extra money, or be sacked.
Unite members at Wincanton M&S Strike – click here.
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