Friday, June 3, 2011

Logistics Giant Continues to Have Problems with Workers Dissent

DHL in Hot Water with Employees Again
Shipping News Feature

UK - Following on from previous stories of problems between management at DHL and their employees in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world, this week saw protests flair up which involves one of their major clients in the country, the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain.

On Wednesday over one hundred DHL Supply Chain warehouse operatives and truck drivers demonstrated outside Sainsbury’s London Headquarters, demanding that the company puts pressure on DHL to alter its new shift patterns policy.

The Unite union has added its weight to the disgruntled employees, saying that the new working patterns make a mockery of Sainsbury’s current PR campaign aimed at encouraging families to eat together.

In a statement the union said that:

“Sainsbury's has an exclusive contract with DHL for its warehouse and delivery services but DHL has imposed new shift patterns which mean significant numbers of workers will lose out on weekends with their families.

“It means that out of 12 five day shifts many workers will only get three weekends off. Workers have been told that they can either accept the changes or take redundancy. Workers previously were always able to get at least one day of the weekend off but now the new rigid shift patterns have devastated family life for many.

“On the supermarket's website on the 'Feed your Family' campaign Sainsbury's says: ’It feels good, getting everyone together over a meal.’ But for many warehouse workers loading lorries with Sainsbury's groceries Sunday lunch is almost a thing of the past.

According to Unite they have urged Sainsbury's to intervene on a number of occasions and has even met with the company, but state that their “…reasonable requests to protect our members' family lives have fallen on deaf ears.”

The union has also stated that they have not ruled out calling a strike ballot for all 500 DHL workers employed on the Sainsbury contract.

Unite national officer Paul Davies said: "Sainsbury's high profile feed your family campaign encourages its customers to eat as a family, but when we urged the supermarket to intervene to protect warehouse workers at its depot from this devastating attack on their family lives we were ignored.

“For many of our members Sunday lunch with the family is virtually extinct. People are absolutely devastated by these changes and they affect almost all the warehouse workers and drivers in some way. But the workers have been told they can either accept it or go.

“It is time Sainsbury's did the right thing; it has the power to demand that DHL does the right thing."

DHL have stated that the new working conditions are accepted throughout the logistics industry and that “detailed discussions” are taking place between the company, employees and union representatives.

(pic: Apt advice?)