Argos’ Leicestershire job transfer plans ‘a slap in the face’ for the workforce

Argos’ plans to transfer nearly 500 workers from its Lutterworth distribution hub in Leicestershire to Kettering, Northamptonshire are ‘a slap in the face’ for a loyal workforce.

Unite, the country’s largest union, said serious questions need to be asked as to whether employees will be forced to transfer from Magna Park or be offered a redundancy package, if they are unable or unwilling to travel to the new site which is 25 miles away. 

The consultation between Argos, now owned by supermarket giant Sainbury’s, and the union is due to start on Monday (16 January) over proposals for the union’s more than 400 members being TUPE’d  - Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations - to Wincanton Logistics in Kettering from March. 

Unite regional coordinating officer, Paresh Patel, said: “In essence, this announcement has created a period of uncertainty for our members, despite repeated reassurances from Argos last year that there were no plans to change any of the operations at the Magna Park site.

“The news is a slap in the face for a long-established and loyal workforce and it is also a blow for the local economy. 

“Unite wants to scrutinise these proposals to determine whether Argos’ rationale behind this decision stacks up and how it envisages the relationship with Wincanton playing out.

“Unite is committed to securing the jobs, and terms and conditions of those employees who currently work at Magna Park and who may wish to remain with Argos.

“While it is 25 miles from Lutterworth to Kettering along the A14, many of our members live to the north, south and west of Lutterworth, so what is seen as a journey of about an hour one-way could be considerably longer along one of the country’s busiest and most dangerous roads.”   

Argos Distribution yesterday (Tuesday 10 January) announced that it intends to move its operations from the Magna Park site and re-integrate this work into its other distribution centres. It proposes to transfer the bulk of the work from Lutterworth to Wincanton Logistics in the Northamptonshire town.

The lease at Magna Park is due to end this year and Argos has decided it does not wish to renew it. Unite has more than 400 members at this site and the decision could affect up to 500 workers in total.