Argos Agency Workers Protest Against Swedish Derogation

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.

News item: Click here.

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5 Responses to Argos Agency Workers Protest Against Swedish Derogation

  1. mick casey says:

    hi thank-you for your imput but this was my demonstration and as much as i would have liked your help i cant remember you contacting me about being there on the day.
    if you do have any contacts i could use as help for my members whom i orginised with my shop stewards i would be happy to hear from them.i am the large one behind the spreakers left shoulder. Senior steward.(we have updates)

  2. scott McDade says:

    well done for fighting back

  3. Wes Brannelly says:

    Hello all.

    I was pressured into signing a new contract: “swedish derogation” by the agency I worked for, because the company/assignment I was working on refused to comply with the this new rule. I told them from the start I wouldn’t be signing the “derogation” for obvious reasons. Consequently, I was told there would be no further employment for me (No, this isn’t nazi Germany) so I was forced to leave!! However, I find it disappointing that people are signing away their new rights, either for a ‘quite life’ or through fear. Yes, I accept it can’t be easy to leave a job in the current economic climate, but where do you draw the line? We need to stand tall and take these tyrants on, if we don’t then we’ll be working for nothing soon (but hey, at least we’ve got a job). Come on folks!

    • tony williams says:

      well said, and now Asda by way of depoel are robbing all the Agency Drivers throughout the country too by calling it Swedish Derogation, The rate sheets I have available show that depoel get paid more than £10 per hour more from Asda for some shifts than they pay the agencies, therefore, it is depoel that are forcing the drivers working at asda into low pay rates throughout the country and pocketing the money themselves, absolute robbery and totally against what AWR was intended for, they need to be stopped, and stopped now.

  4. Pingback: Leicester Socialist PartyIndustrial Dispute Time-line for Argos » Leicester Socialist Party

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