Parcel deliveries in central London could be hit in the run-up to Christmas, if staff at UPS Parcels vote to strike in a dispute over unreasonable workloads and alleged bullying.
The 120 drivers and loaders, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, who work at the Camden depot - the biggest UPS depot in Europe - are currently being balloted for strike action. The ballot closes on Friday 8 November.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab warned that UPS customers in central and west London could find their parcel deliveries severely disrupted in the weeks before Christmas – and that UPS could lose out to their competitors, the Royal Mail and DHL, if there were not a fair settlement to the workers’ grievances.
Onay Kasab urged the management at the Regis Street depot to get around the negotiating table as a matter of urgency.
He said: “The issues are unreasonable workloads, forced overtime, bullying and disciplinary action. The loaders are given far too many vans to stack and its back breaking work with major health and safety concerns.
“The drivers are also given far too many deliveries each day. The targets set are unachievable. Some of the deliveries will be timed deliveries - the customer will expect a delivery at a set time.
“But the drivers are often given such completely unrealistic timings that deliveries are missed. The sheer volume is unrealistic.
“The firm manages the situation in two ways. Drivers have a finish time in their contracts, but it has inserted a clause which it claims means that drivers can be forced to work beyond finish times as often as required.
“The problem is that many of the drivers never finish on time - so forced overtime has become the norm.
“What stops the drivers just walking off at their finish time are the threats and bullying. Drivers are told: ‘If you don’t like it, get a job elsewhere or just get on with it or you will be sacked’.
“Even worse, the company disciplinary code says that three missed deliveries will automatically lead to a disciplinary hearing.
“This dispute reveals the true face of the company. The UPS advertisements are full of happy, smiling employees, but the reality is starkly different.
“Worker after worker has told Unite about the appalling conditions under which they work, with the constant threat of disciplinary action hanging over people’s heads on a daily basis.
“For many, a work life balance is little more than a fantasy – it is work till you finish or you face disciplinary action and never mind your family life.
“The company needs to sit up and listen as our members have had enough – otherwise its delivery service to customers will be badly hit in the run-up to Christmas."
For further information please contact Onay Kasab on 07771818637 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.