AGREEMENT BETWEEN ARGOS AND UNION OF SHOP, DISTRIBUTIVE AND ALLIED WORKERS (USDAW) - 2015

New7

December 2015

1. RECOGNITION

This is an agreement between Argos, hereafter referred to as the Company, and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, hereafter referred to as the Union.

The Company confers sole recognition and collective bargaining rights to the Union on all matters within the scope of this Agreement.

2. SCOPE

i. This Agreement shall apply on a Company-wide basis to all Company colleagues located within Argos Retail Outlets, including Retail Store Drivers (Customer Fulfilment Assistants) and all Regional Hub colleagues but excluding four weekly salaried management staff.

ii. The Company recognises the Union for the purposes of collective bargaining and negotiations relating to all contractual arrangements.

3. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

i. The Company and the Union are committed to working together in a spirit of partnership to the mutual benefit of the Company and its colleagues.

ii. The partners to this agreement recognise that they have a mutual objective in ensuring the success of the Company as the basis on which improvements to pay and conditions can be achieved.

iii. The partners agree that good relations between them are essential to the success of the Company and that this is achieved through mutual respect, openness and trust.

iv. The partners recognise each other's legitimate and separate functions. The Union recognises the Company's right and responsibility to manage the business and the Company recognises the Union's right to represent the views and interests of its members.

v. In order to assist the Union to be fully representative of all colleagues, the Company agrees to bring to the attention of all new colleagues the desirability and details of membership of the Union.

vi. The Union will have the facility to explain the benefits of membership to new colleagues as part of the induction process.

vii. The company will deduct Union subscriptions from salaries of employees who wish to pay their subscriptions this way, subject to completion of the appropriate form and will encourage use of this facility. The company will notify the Union of any change of the member’s address.

4. REPRESENTATION

Colleagues of the Company who are members of the Union may be elected as workplace representatives to represent Union members in accordance with the terms of this agreement.

4.1. Appointment

i. The Company and the Union will agree the number of representatives required with a maximum of two Representatives within individual retail stores.

ii. Representatives will be permanent colleagues and should have not less than one year's service with the Company prior to nomination.

iii. As soon as a colleague ceases to be a member of the Union their appointment as a Union representative will cease.

iv. All representatives must be mutually acceptable to the Union and the Company. The Company will not unreasonably object to a choice of representative. In the event that the Company objects to a specific nomination, their objections will be put in writing to the Area Organiser concerned. The Area Organiser can appeal against the objection to the Regional Manager, following which a meeting will be held to resolve the matter.

v. The Union will provide the Company with a list of appointed representatives and will supply credentials to its representatives.

vi. Area Organisers will have the opportunity to meet with newly appointed Representatives to outline ways of working between the company and the Union. This meetings will last approximately 2 hours, the last 30 minutes of which will also include the Store Manager in order to ensure that the role of the Store Representative is fully understood.

vii. The Company and the Union recognise that it is in the interests of their partnership for Union representatives to receive relevant training. The Company agrees to provide union representatives with reasonable time off work without loss of earnings to attend approved Usdaw training in accordance with the provisions set out in the ACAS code of practice “Time off for Trade Union Duties and Activities”. The Union undertakes to give the Company reasonable notice of all requests for training leave as covered in the Argos/Usdaw Representative Release document (AURR document - appendix I of the agreement).

4.2. Facilities

i. The Company will give access to facilities comprising office accommodation (not sole use), telephone, email and will also provide secure storage for Representatives’ Union documents.

ii. The Company will, wherever possible, make available accommodation for meetings of Union members. The dates and times of such meetings will be agreed between the parties and will be arranged to minimise disruption to the activities of the Company.

iii. Union representatives will be permitted to take reasonable time off without loss of earnings to carry out their duties and responsibilities under this agreement in accordance with the provisions the ACAS code of practice “Time off for Trade Union Duties and Activities” and also as detailed in the AURR document.

iv. Representatives seeking time off for union duties will request paid time off from work from management as far as possible in advance giving the reason and likely length of absence.

v. Should the Company request that such time off be postponed for operational reasons, the partners will endeavour to agree a suitable alternative. Neither party will act unreasonably on the question of postponement.

vi. The Company will provide union representatives with reasonable facilities to communicate with other colleagues, for example notice boards.

5. RECRUITMENT

Argos recognises that the recruitment of new members helps sustain Usdaw as a successful organisation, able to make an independent contribution on behalf of the membership. Argos therefore provides Usdaw with the facilities to recruit new members and supports staff joining and remaining in membership of Usdaw whilst employed by the Company.

The key opportunity for recruitment is at new starter inductions with other methods of recruitment remaining ongoing. To assist with this:

• Argos will encourage all new and existing employees covered by this agreement to join Usdaw.

• Usdaw recruitment literature and a membership application form will be given out with the induction pack to new starters as part of the company’s induction programme.

• It is recognised that the majority of new colleague recruitment takes place from September through to Christmas each year. The company will support a recruitment campaign each year to enable as many existing and fixed term contract colleagues as possible to take up membership.

• Usdaw Representatives/Area Organisers will be invited to attend induction sessions to promote the benefits of Usdaw membership and will be allowed around 30 minutes to make an appropriate presentation (including questions and answers).

• The company will notify the Usdaw National Officer of all new store openings a minimum of four weeks prior to opening with details of store address and contact details.

• In the event of a new store opening, an Usdaw Representative/Official will be allowed around 45 minutes to make an appropriate presentation (including questions and answers) as part of the induction programme.

• Argos will also provide recruitment time and facilities for recognised Usdaw Officials to meet existing employees.

• Divisional Recruitment Campaigns of more than 10 individual stores may take place in Usdaw Divisions. In this event a formal request will be made by the Usdaw Deputy Divisional Officer to the Divisional HR Manager advising of stores and dates to be visited.

• From time to time, Usdaw may request that an Usdaw Representative is stood down from their normal role, typically for a maximum of 12 weeks, to recruit non-members into Usdaw. Wages for all periods of stand down will be paid by the Company and reimbursed monthly by Usdaw (refer to AURR document).

6. LEARNING

6.1 Academy/ Academy2

Argos agrees to allow release for nominated Usdaw Representatives to participate in Usdaw’s Academy or Academy2 for six months.

Usdaw National Officer will formally request release to participate in either Academy from the Divisional HR Manager.

Wages for all periods of stand down will be paid by the Company and reimbursed monthly by Usdaw (refer to AURR document).

6.2 Usdaw’s Annual Delegate Meeting

The company will support 21 Usdaw Representatives (3 per Usdaw Division) to attend the Usdaw Annual Delegate Meeting with pay.

Usdaw’s National Officer will advise the company in writing of the paid attendees to the ADM no later than six weeks before the date of the meeting.

Favourable consideration will be given for further Usdaw Representatives to attend ADM by taking holidays or unpaid leave.

Release will be granted under the AURR document processes.

6.3 Lifelong Learning

All partners recognise the benefits of lifelong learning and development and that it is essential to the successful future of the organisation and individuals who work there. Therefore, all parties are committed to working in partnership to promote and support Lifelong Learning across the Company and ensure equal access to learning opportunities for all employees.

7. CONSULTATION

i. Both partners recognise that regular communication between the Company and its colleagues is vital. The Company and the Union are committed to effective, ongoing communications and to fully involving colleagues in the decision making process.

ii. Consultative mechanisms have been established to ensure that the views of all colleagues are consistently listened to and acted on.

iii. To facilitate this process, there will be a company-wide Joint Consultation Committee (hereafter referred to as the JCC). The JCC will discuss employee relations and other matters relevant to employment relations. The JCC will meet twice per year and the minutes will be circulated to all JCC representatives and made available to all colleagues.

iv. The JCC will consist of nine representatives who are elected from the seven Usdaw Divisions. There will also be two additional representatives, one being from Northern Ireland and the other being a Customer Fulfilment Assistant (Driver). The committee will meet with appropriate levels of management and the Union’s National Officer.

8. BARGAINING ARRANGEMENTS

i. Pay awards and other appropriate corporate terms and conditions will be determined by a National Negotiating Committee (NNC), involving representatives from the JCC and the Usdaw National Officer. The NNC will meet annually with management representatives determined by the Company to discuss the Union’s pay claim and more frequently if required.

iii. All items for inclusion in the Union's wage claim will be submitted to the Company at least two weeks prior to the review meeting.

iv. The communication of the decisions shall be through an agreed joint statement, issued by the Union and the Company. The joint statement will be distributed to all National Negotiating Committee members, relevant Management colleagues, Union representatives and displayed on colleague notice boards.

v. The joint statement, giving details of the proposed settlement, will be put to the Union members and voted on in a secret ballot, conducted by the Union.

9. FAILURE TO AGREE

i.The partners recognise that differences between them will arise and are committed to resolving these differences.

ii.The following procedure is designed to enable such differences to be resolved in a spirit of partnership, mutual trust and openness.

iii.The partners agree that they will work to avoid any breakdown in their discussions and the taking of unilateral action.

Stage One

Any matters in dispute will be discussed between officials of the union and the appropriate

levels of management and a resolution attempted.

Stage Two

If the matter has not been resolved at Stage One, it may be discussed between the appropriate Company Senior Management and the Union's National Officer.

In the event of a failure to agree the Union will not take action until this process has been followed and exhausted. The status quo will be maintained during the process.

10. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

i. Individual Grievances

It is the Company’s policy to deal openly and fairly with any grievance or complaint raised by a colleague. All grievances are dealt with as quickly as possible and in line with the procedures detailed in the Retail Employee Handbook.

At every formal stage of the grievance procedure, the colleague has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or Usdaw representative.

ii. Collective Grievances

A collective grievance will be an issue that is raised formally by more than one colleague within a store. In the first instance this should be raised informally by one of the colleagues affected on behalf of the group.

Stage 1 - Store Manager

(a) Where more than one colleague has an issue within a store this should be raised informally with the store Manager so they can jointly try and resolve the issue.

(b) If the Store Manager is unable to resolve the problem informally within 3 working days the Store Union Representative and the Store Manager will meet to discuss the issue.

(c) If the issue is still not resolved then the collective grievance will be escalated to Stage 2 and referred to the Regional Manager.

Stage 2 - Regional Manager

(a) Stage 2 will deal with issues that have not been resolved at Stage 1 and the issue must be submitted formally in writing.

(b) The Regional Manager is responsible for arranging a meeting within 5 working days with all parties concerned. The Union’s Area Organiser will support this meeting where appropriate. If a meeting cannot be arranged within 5 days due to diary commitments agreement must be reached by all parties to delay the meeting.

(c) If the issue is still not resolve then the collective grievance will be escalated to Stage 3 and referred to the Divisional Manager.

Stage 3 - Divisional Manager

(a) If the matter is not resolved at Stage 2 then it will be escalated to Stage 3 and will be dealt with by the Divisional Manager and the Union’s National Officer will then become involved.

(b) A meeting should be arranged within 10 working days of the referral, subject to diary commitments and any delay should be agreed by all parties.

Status Quo

The company agree not to implement any alterations to terms and conditions of

employment until agreement has been reached or the negotiation process exhausted.

This applies to all stages of the collective grievance procedure.

11. DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE

The Company policy is designed to ensure fairness and consistency in the treatment of colleagues who become liable to disciplinary action as a result of any breach of their Contract of Employment or any failure to meet the standards required by the Company. It is not just a means of imposing sanctions on colleagues for such failures but also a means of encouraging improvements in individual conduct.

All disciplinary matters are dealt with as quickly as possible and in line with the procedures detailed in the Retail Employee Handbook.

At every stage of the formal disciplinary procedure, the colleague has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or Usdaw representative.

12. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

Both the Company and the Union are committed to the development of positive policies to promote equal opportunities in employment, regardless of colleagues’ age, gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, religion, creed, sexual orientation or disability.

The Company undertakes to draw opportunities for training and promotion to the attention of all colleagues, and to inform all colleagues of this Agreement. The Union pledges its full support for this activity.

Both the Company and the Union agree that they will review from time to time through their joint machinery, the operation of this equal opportunity policy and incorporate any agreed amendments.

If any colleague considers that they are suffering from unequal treatment on the grounds of age, gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, religion, creed, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation, they may make a complaint, which will be dealt with through the agreed grievance procedure.

12. HEALTH AND SAFETY

Both the Company and the Union recognise the necessity for having an effective and comprehensive health and safety policy and will follow the procedures laid down in the Health and Safety at Work Act.

13. SECURITY OF EMPLOYMENT

The Usdaw National Officer will be given notification of any store closures or proposed redundancies as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Full details of the policy are contained in the Redundancy Agreement.

SIGNATORIES TO THE AGREEMENT

All those who have signed below signify their acceptance of this agreement between Argos Limited and Usdaw.

This agreement is not intended to be contractual.

This Agreement becomes effective between the parties from the date of signature and will be reviewed on an annual basis. If either partner wishes to terminate the agreement, they must give six months’ notice in writing, to the Head Office of the Company or Union as appropriate.

- Signed on behalf of ARGOS Limited

Nigel Turner

HR Director

- Signed on behalf of the Union of Shop, Distributive And Allied Workers

David Gill

Usdaw National Officer

Date: 15 - 12 - 2015

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APPENDIX 1

Argos/Usdaw Representative Release Document

(AURR Document)

Attending a JCC/NNC Meeting

Retail HR PA •Contact the colleague and inform them of the date of the JCC or NNC meeting. Send letter/email, copied to the Store Manager, Area Manager and HRBP.

•Book the colleague’s travel and accommodation.

•Confirm colleague attendance.

Colleague •Inform Retail HR PA if they are going to attend the JCC or NNC meeting.

•Inform Retail HR PA of their need for travel or accommodation.

•Check their Store Manager is aware that they have been invited to the JCC or NNC meeting.

Store Manager

•Ensure the colleague is released to attend the JCC or NNC meeting - they do not need to attend work on the day of travel if they are staying overnight.

•Pay the colleague for full days when they are attending JCC or NNC meetings.

•Pay the colleague for any out of pocket expenses (in line with policy) through petty cash.

•Complete wage transfer form on the intranet for hours to be costed out of store and inform Store Finance of any out of pocket expenses to be costed out.

Store Finance

•Ensure the correct number of hours are costed out of the store.

•Cost out any petty cash expenses as informed by the Store Manager.

Usdaw Secondment Agreed

(Stand down Representative or Academy)

Usdaw •National Officer to discuss proposed secondment with relevant HRM in first instance (see below).

•Once agreed, Area Organiser to liaise with Store Manager to confirm arrangements for colleague on secondment and the period of time they will be required.

•Pay Argos the cost of the colleague being on secondment as per agreement.

•Pay the colleague any out of pocket travel expenses.

HRM/HRBP •HRM discuss proposed secondment with relevant HRBP.

•HRBP to discuss with the Store Manager the proposed secondment, duration and agree/defer/decline.

Store Manager

•Pay the colleague in store for the hours they are working whilst with Usdaw.

•Record the hours and keep a track of the overall costs.

•Inform Store Finance monthly of the cost to be charged out to Usdaw.

Store Finance

•Raise a monthly invoice to submit to Usdaw to recover the costs the store has incurred.

•Once payment is received from Usdaw ensure the costs are removed from the store. Usdaw will pay all invoices within 7 days of receipt.

Attend an Usdaw Training Course

Usdaw •Contact the colleague to discuss the date of the proposed training course (if possible six weeks prior).

•Contact Store Manager and agree the need for the Union Representative to attend the course.

•Book and pay for the colleague’s travel and accommodation.

HRM/HRBP •Confirm attendance to Usdaw.

•Inform Usdaw of their preferred method of travel and whether or not overnight accommodation is required.

•Confirm with their Store Manager that they are aware of the training and dates

Store Manager

•Ensure the colleague is released to attend the training course.

•Pay the colleague for full days when they attend the course.

•Complete wage transfer form on the intranet for hours to be costed out of store and inform Store Finance of any out of pocket expenses to be costed out.

Store Finance

• Ensure the correct number of hours are costed out of the store.

Attend Usdaw Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM)

3 Colleagues per Usdaw Division (21 in total with paid release)

Usdaw •Contact the colleague and inform them of the date of the ADM.

•Contact Store Manager and HRBP and inform them of the need for the union representative(s) to attend the ADM.

•Book and pay for the colleagues travel and accommodation.

HRM/HRBP •Confirm their attendance to Usdaw.

•Inform Usdaw of their method of travel and if they need overnight accommodation.

•Check their Store Manager is aware that they have been invited to the ADM and the date.

Store Manager

•Ensure the colleague is released to attend the ADM.

•Pay the colleague for full days when they are attending.

•Complete wage transfer form on the intranet for hours to be costed out of store and inform Store Finance of any out of pocket expenses to be costed out

Store Finance

Ensure the correct number of hours are costed out of the store.

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APPENDIX 2

USDAW Recharges - Stores Process

Attending a JCC/NNC meeting, an USDAW Training Course or an Annual Delegate Meeting

•For payroll costs relating to employee attendance at the above, please complete a Salary and Wage transfer form. This can be found on the intranet, under Stores>Operations>Stores Finance>Salary and Wages Transfer Form

•For travel costs relating to employee attendance at the above, please complete an Other Costs transfer form. This can be found on the intranet, under Stores >Operations>Stores Finance> Petty Cash / Other Costs Transfers

Please ensure the reason for transfer contains the word "USDAW".

Both payroll and travel costs should be charged to cost centre 1099.

USDAW Secondment

• For payroll costs relating to employee secondment to USDAW, please complete an USDAW Secondment form. This can be found on the intranet, under Stores > Operations>Stores Finance>USDAW Secondment Re-charge Form

USDAW will pay the colleague any out of pocket expenses.

Agreement between Argos and Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) - 2015

Start date: → 2015-12-15
End date: → Not specified
Ratified by: → Other
Ratified on: → 2015-12-15
Name industry: → Retail trade
Name industry: → Department stores and supermarkets, Retail sale of clothing in specialised stores, Retail sale of electrical household appliances in specialised stores
Public/private sector: → In the private sector
Concluded by:
Name company: →  Argos
Names trade unions: →  USDAW - Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

TRAINING

Training programmes: → Yes
Apprenticeships: → No
Employer contributes to training fund for employees: → No

GENDER EQUALITY ISSUES

Equal pay for work of equal value: → No
Discrimination at work clauses: → Yes
Equal opportunities for promotion for women: → Yes
Equal opportunities for training and retraining for women: → Yes
Gender equality trade union officer at the workplace: → No
Clauses on sexual harassment at work: → Yes
Clauses on violence at work: → Yes
Special leave for workers subjected to domestic or intimate partner violence: → No
Support for women workers with disabilities: → No
Gender equality monitoring: → No
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