Reassurances about job security are being urgently sought as hundreds of DHL drivers and warehouse staff, who deliver goods to BHS stores, face ‘a very worrying time’ following the final collapse of the high street stalwart.
Unite, the country’s largest union, is seeking assurances about the future employment prospects for 60 drivers and about 300 warehouse workers, employed by the logistics company DHL which supplied the 163 chain stores on a daily basis.
The majority of Unite’s members are based at Atherstone, near Coventry.
Unite national officer for road transport Matt Draper today (Thursday 2 June) called for ‘urgent talks’ with DHL management to clarify the situation and what impact it may have on members’ jobs.
Matt Draper said: “Unite is seeking urgent talks with the DHL management now that the worst case scenario for BHS has occurred with the administrators failing to find a buyer for the 88-year-old high street chain.
“This is devastating news for the 11,000 BHS workers whose jobs are at risk. It is also a worrying and uncertain time for our members employed by DHL.
“We will be seeking immediate talks with the DHL management as to what the collapse of BHS will mean for our members supplying the BHS stores. We will be seeking assurances about job security and possible
redeployment onto other DHL contracts.
“Unite and its regional officers want to work constructively with the DHL management to chart a way through the current situation, which is not of DHL’s making.
“BHS appears to have been used as a milch cow for the forces of rapacious international capitalism. Those responsible need to be held to account at the court of public opinion for their actions that have had such woeful consequences for the BHS workforce and its pensioners.
“It is time the government cracked down on situations where hundreds of millions of pounds in dividends can be quite legally siphoned off, while the pension deficit is allowed to balloon.
“It is more than 40 years since Tory prime minister Ted Heath lashed out at ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’ – a sense of déjà vu hangs over the corporate corpse of BHS today.”
Unite has about 20 members working directly for BHS and the union has already written to them offering maximum support on an individual basis.
BHS will now be wound down and all BHS's shops will close and be sold off to other retailers. Administrator Duff & Phelps said that 8,000 permanent jobs are likely to be lost and another 3,000 not directly employed by BHS are also at risk.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.