Changes in the economy have made action that can block the movement of commodities more powerful than ever, and the frantic shopping rush in the run-up to Christmas intensifies that further. Now, following on from the recent DHL Logistics strike, Argos drivers at the main Wincanton site near Burton-on-Trent are threatening a walkout for three days from 20 December onwards in a dispute about unpaid holiday back pay. This report from the Standard adds that Wincanton drivers at Basildon are also currently being balloted for action in an unrelated dispute over a disciplinary system.
Meanwhile, staff at Crown Post Offices (not all post offices, just the big ones, apparently) will also be walking out for five days before Christmas, and the Southern Rail strike continues, with Chris Grayling making vague threatening noises about bringing in new anti-strike laws. Workers at a sweet factory in York are also set to walk out in a pay row.
It’s the Wincanton dispute that raises the most interesting questions, though: what are the relationships like between the drivers and the warehouse staff, or even the shop staff who’re the most visible face of these companies? How much sharing of experience is there between the workers of different logistics firms like DHL and Wincanton, and how is it possible to break down the isolation of workers at sites that tend to be in far-flung business parks, outside any big urban centres?