Distribution staff from Home Retail Group’s Argos demonstrated at the company’s AGM this week ahead of a strike ballot in protest at the 4 per cent pay increase offered by the retailer.

More than 1,100 of the retailer’s distribution staff voted this week on whether or not they should take industrial action in protest to the pay offer, as well as plans to reduce sick pay benefits.

The results of the ballot were being counted as Retail Week went to press, with an announcement expected today.

Staff union Unite is confident that the strike will go ahead and that it will cause “significant disruption to Argos’s customer distribution centre”.

Unite national secretary Jennie Formby said: “We’re making a point by demonstrating. If Argos wants to keep its market share, it must listen to its workforce.”

She added: “Thanks to our members, who have worked hard to keep costs down, Argos has made significant savings in distribution, including£500,000 in the first two months of this year.”

An Argos spokesman said: “We remain confident that we have offered a competitive pay offer, which compares very favourably with other retailers in the present market.” The retailer was unwilling to comment further on the strike issue until the result of the ballot is known.

Staff voting in the ballot are based in regional distribution centres at Basildon in Essex, Bridgwater in Somerset, Heywood in Lancashire and Magna Park in Leicestershire.