Union Unite has announced a fresh week-long strike at five Argos distribution centres in its latest protest over the retailer’s ongoing supply chain transformation programme.

The strike, which the union says will involve around 1,000 warehouse staff, will start at 6am this Saturday (19 July) at the retailer’s Basildon, Bridgwater, Castleford and Magna Park sites and at 6.30am at its Heywood distribution centre. It follows two previous 24-hour strikes, the last of which took place on 4 July.

The unrest revolves around Argos’s plans to move to a new shift pattern which the union feels the retailer is not adequately compensating staff for.

“The crux of this dispute is Argos’s determination to push through a new 24/7 shift pattern without offering our members a decent compensation package or making reasonable adjustments that would allow for a better work/life balance,” confirmed Matt Draper, Unite national officer for road transport and logistics.

Members who had already signed up to the new arrangements and accepted a one-off payment of £2,000 had “felt pressurised” to do so and feared they would otherwise be sacked, said Draper. “They had the metaphorical gun put to their heads to sign,” he suggested.

Urging Argos to return to the negotiating table, Draper claimed the week-long strike would “severely affect” both the launch of Argos’s latest catalogue on 26 July and subsequent customer deliveries.

At the time of the last strike, which Argos said was largely ineffective, a spokeswoman for the retailer told Motortransport.co.uk that 98% of its staff had already accepted the new terms and conditions.

The same spokeswoman told us this week that around 75% of the total distribution workforce (including drivers) were not striking and that contingency plans had been put in place to ensure a normal service for customers during the new strike.

Although staff would be required to work one extra weekend day per six-week period under the shift change, she added, their full weekends off work would actually increase from two in six to three in six.