Stick it to the Argos flying scabs

For an example of a truly bad company look no further than UK retailer Argos (no link as I don’t want to help give the scum any business). The arrogant management at Argos has decided that rather than having intelligent discussions with its trade union partners in Ireland, that it would rather fly in scabs from the UK to try and bust the industrial action in its Irish stores.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the dispute between Argos and Irish trade union Mandate, it is morally indefensible for Argos management to try and bust legitimate industrial action by flying in scab labour from abroad. Especially since one of the union’s requests is simply that it should be allowed to negotiate pay rises on behalf of its members. There is a legitimate argument around what percentage rise it should be, but it should be a given that a union can negotiate on behalf of its members.

It’s a shame that Argos has turned out to be such a reprehensible company, as I’d actually been planning to do quite a lot of my Christmas shopping there. Not now, as I’m joining the boycott. You can also join a Facebook group.

Argos free returns – make them pay

If you really want to stick it to the Argos management, there is an even better way than just the boycott. Argos offers “Free returns within 30days” so that means if you’ve bought anything in the last month you can take it back, reclaim the money and buy it from a more socially responsible store.

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About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.northernpr.co.uk Sam Oakley

    Hi Stuart,

    Maybe it's the closet fascist that lurks inside every evil Tory (like me) rearing it's ugly head again, but this post isn't exactly your usual measured, balanced commentary.

    There are two sides to every story and, whilst I haven't done any research, I can bet that the same is the case here. Surely Argos' response runs something along the following lines:

    "We are in a dispute with staff over pay and conditions, we take that seriously and are working to negotiate a solution. In the mean time we have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that they get their purchases, many of which will be christmas gifts, within a reasonable time.

    "The workers we have brought in are clearly a temporary solution designed to deal with a specific problem."

    So I say, don't stick it to the flying scabs, and don't try to ensure that all the workers currently in dispute loose their jobs when argos goes broke by abusing a free return policy that is there solely for the customers' benefit.

  • Anonymous

    Written quickly so may be I wasn't as clear as I could have been. My point was specifically about 'busting' the strike by using foreign Labour. It was not about the merits of the dispute. Argos can not possibly be in serious negotiations if it is employing these tactics. I support the Tory legislation against flying pickets, but it cuts both ways.

  • http://www.sitevisibility.co.uk/blog/ kelvin newman

    Either way, Argos need to be carefull. Whatever their motive it doesn't look good.

  • http://www.robskinner.typepad.com Rob Skinner

    Stuart
    Belated comment. This post was certainly more polemical than your normal posts but if you can't have a rant on your own blog, where can you? You obviously decided that your comments will not have upset any of your clients, which is the only reason to hold back.
    Rob

  • http://profile.typekey.com/stuartbrucepr/ Stuart Bruce – Wolfstar

    Rob, you're right it is more polemic than usual.And on re-reading it I'm not sure I accurately conveyed my thoughts. My point was that it isn't about the rights/wrongs of the dispute, but that certain tactics are morally reprehensible and beyond the pale. It is very bad CSR. Strike breaking is NOT the way a responsible corporate acts. Industrial disputes are part of business and sometimes the company is right, sometimes the union, more usually somewhere between the two. But both sides must act responsibly and there are things that unions should never do (intimidation, flying pickets etc) and things that employers should never do (intimidation, flying workers/scabs) should never do.