Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Transport Unions Rail at Treatment of Postal Staff by Freight and Logistics Giant

Deutsche Post DHL Labour Practices Under Attack at AGM - Again
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – It seems that once again the Annual General Meeting of Deutsche Post-DHL will be the scene of dissent by unions over the treatment of workers employed by the postal, logistics and freight delivery group. The difference this year is that the attack on the company comes, not from overseas as previously, but in the form of complaints about the working rights of postal transport staff employed in the home country.

DP-DHL have announced plans to move up to 10,000 parcel workers out of Deutsche Post and into new shell companies called DHL Delivery. While the move won’t change their work, the unions, in the form of the UNI Global Union and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), say employees will lose as much as €3,500 per year and all access to the existing collective agreement and existing works councils in Deutsche Post.

Meanwhile ver.di, the union representing workers in Deutsche Post-DHL have already begun fighting back. In April and May, thousands of ver.di members have gone on strike to protest the plans, which they say are in blatant disregard of existing agreements with the union and today’s AGM is set to become the scene for another direct conflict. A ver.di spokesperson commented:

“With the spin-off of part of the delivery operation, Deutsche Post is smashing its highly efficient delivery network. This is not the right step into the future mail and parcel market.”

UNI and ITF will join ver.di members on strike in protesting at DP-DHL’s annual general meeting in Frankfurt today, demanding the company honours its commitment to social partnership following what they consider amounts to an attack on its German workforce. ITF general secretary Steve Cotton commented:

“Today Frankfurt will witness a fantastic piece of trade union activism as thousands of workers hold DP-DHL to account, supported by their colleagues around the world. DP-DHL has let down its workers, its shareholders and the people of Germany. It is undercutting, undermining and underperforming. It has tried to play off its own personnel against each other and to sidestep and avoid not just its own responsibilities but also its own claimed values.”

The scenes at today’s AGM are likely to be reminiscent of those at previous company meetings at which numerous accusations of mismanagement were made, particularly in eight countries outside Germany and typify accusations which persist to this day. Philip Jennings, the general secretary of UNI Global Union, which represents postal workers around the world, said:

“The shareholders have a massive opportunity to convince the company to do the right thing and withdraw these draconian measures that penalise DP-DHL’s parcel workers. UNI and the ITF back ver.di all the way. We will not rest until this decision is reversed.”