Retail news round-up: Argos paying £2.4m to underpaid workers, Tesco Ireland and trade union will talk to resolve strike, and new code of conduct calls for private firms 

Argos to pay £2.4m to underpaid workers

Argos’s 37,000 current and former workers will share a £2.4m payout, with each employee receiving an average of £64, The Guardian reported.

An investigation by HM Revenue & Customs found that Argos was paying less than the legal minimum wage to workers.

The retailer has been fined approximately £1.5m following the investigation.

The company will pay £800,000 to the tax authority as it has agreed to pay up within 14 days.

Tesco Ireland and trade union talk to resolve strike

Tesco Ireland’s management and the Mandate trade union will talk to resolve the strike over terms and conditions for long-serving employees, Irish Times reported.

However, a planned escalation of the dispute will go ahead today, with pickets scheduled to be placed on a further eight Tesco outlets.

The company said that it had agreed to new talks following Mandate’s request for discussions.

Mandate welcomed the company’s agreement to enter into new talks “without prejudice”.

Call for new code of conduct for private firms

A survey by the Institute of Directors (IOD) found that two-thirds of company directors want a new corporate governance code for private firms in order to avoid a BHS-style crisis.

IOD’s director general Stephen Martin said that the UK's standards for publicly listed firms are emulated across the world, but the governance for private companies remains a mystery.

"For small companies, any new reporting requirements would be excessive, but there is a real appetite in the business community for a new code for large private firms.

"A private code would have to be less prescriptive than the one for listed corporations, based on broad governance principles rather than a lot of tick-box compliance.

"If they get this right, the Government could really help to make boardrooms more transparent, and improve the functioning of these companies."