Argos has been called on by workers union USDAW not to ‘fire and rehire’ hundreds of staff in order to push through contractual changes.
According to USDAW, Argos is planning to use a controversial process known as ‘fire and rehire’ in order to get hundreds of back-office staff to sign new contracts which often affect pay, benefits and working hours.
The UK’s fifth biggest trade union, which boasts over 400,000 members mostly working in the retail sector, says staff face losing thousands of pounds because of pension contributions, holiday entitlements and travel allowances.
“Fire and re-hire tactics, to enforce contractual changes by sacking and then rehiring staff, is legally controversial and morally bankrupt,” USDAW’s national officer Dave Gill said.
“Disgracefully, across the UK, we’ve seen a growing number of businesses using the uncertainty of job security in the pandemic to manipulate workers into taking worse terms, simply because they are scared of losing their jobs.
“It is long overdue that the Government outlawed this practice and we were deeply disappointed that there was no employment bill in the Queen’s Speech to tackle this and other injustices. The Prime Minster has called the practice ‘unacceptable’, but those words are meaningless without action.
“In the absence of legal restraints on employers, preventing them from using ‘fire and rehire’, we are urging Argos to remove this threat from their staff.”
In February, Tesco said it was planning to challenge a court’s decision after union bosses won a case against a similar proposed ‘fire and rehire’ strategy.
USDAW won an interdict in the Court of Session in Edinburgh banning Tesco from moving some staff at its Livingston distribution centre on to a new contract.
The contract change would have resulted in the employees losing between £4000 and £19,000 a year.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Charged: “
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said, “Sainsbury’s came together with Argos almost five years ago and some office colleagues and Managers in our Distribution Teams remain on legacy Argos contracts.
“We want our terms and conditions to be fair, consistent and competitive for everyone. We’re speaking to these colleagues about what this means for them and the majority have already signed the new contract.
“We have a strong record of listening to our colleagues and acting on their feedback when we propose changes to our business and this has been no exception. For example, to ensure everyone has time to reflect on what the updates mean for them we are giving colleagues six months’ notice and providing financial support for 18 further pay packets – a period we increased in consultation with our colleagues.”