Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Freight and Logistics Group to Witness More Protests at its Behaviour

Accusations of Victimisation Abroad Persist for DHL Whilst Iberia Settlement Hailed as a Victory for Unions
Shipping News Feature

UK – SPAIN – GERMANY – TURKEY – WORLDWIDE – These are unsettling times for some of the major freight and logistics groups as unions step up the pressure during a downturn in the economies of many countries. There are scheduled to be protests worldwide on Tuesday 26 March when demonstrators approach German embassies to express their concerns at the overseas policies of DHL. The protests continue a string of public denouncements of the freight forwarding group such as those held last month at London Fashion Week.

The German government is a major shareholder in Deutsche Post DHL and the company’s labour practices outside of its home country have come in for severe criticism of late with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and other union groups saying that nothing has been done despite promises from CEO Frank Appel and a German company’s TV film exposing the situation. The firm stands accused of opposing unionisation overseas whilst maintaining strong rights for staff at home.

The main problem area for DHL in this respect is Turkey and among the sites for the ‘DHL Families Day’ demonstration will be Istanbul which has been the eye of the storm for DHL whilst a delegation will visit the German embassy in London as well as in other major cities. Such has the unrest grown there is now a website dedicated to unveiling DHL ‘abuses’, http://www.respectatdhl.org/ .  

Meanwhile this week the ITF announced what they consider a major victory following the settlement of the dispute at Iberia. The airline and British Airways partner in the IAG conglomerate reached a compromise with Spanish unions thus avoiding a third wave of strikes. ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho said:

“We are glad to see the airline accept the phased restructuring deal that was on offer all along. We know that both the airline and the Spanish government consider it as feasible and sensible now as it was when the unions first suggested it. Willie Walsh’s decision to step in over Iberia’s heads has led to nothing but needless strife.

“This is the second time he has tried these tactics. First it was British Airways. Then it was Iberia. Both times the unions have successfully challenged him. Both times his only result has been damage to the good names and industrial relations of those airlines and inconvenience for their passengers.”

Photo: Members of the Tumtis union in Turkey at a recent protest.