Hundreds of drivers and warehouse staff, who deliver goods to BHS stores, could be the latest group to fall foul of the financial machinations that have seen the 88-year-old high street chain go into administration, putting 11,000 jobs at risk.
A total of 60 drivers and about 300 warehouse workers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, work for the logistics company DHL which supplies the 164 chain store 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 (Wednesday 4 May) called for ‘urgent talks’ with DHL management to clarify the situation and what it impact it may have on members’ jobs.
In a statement DHL said: “While discussions with the administrators are continuing, it would be premature to speculate on the long term impact of last week’s announcement. However we are working closely with our trade union and colleagues at this time.”
Matt Draper said: “We are asking for urgent talks with DHL on the BHS collapse to explore what the implications are. The BHS situation demonstrates that the effects go beyond those directly employed to those working in the wider supply chain.
“It appears that our members could be the latest group, after the staff and BHS pensioners, to suffer from the financial machinations at BHS over the last decade.
“What appears to have happened at BHS is the latest example of unbridled and feral capitalism benefiting a very few to the serious financial disadvantage of the many.
“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, with the taxpayer being lined up to pick up the tab through the Pension Protection Fund.
“The collapse also sees thousands of jobs threatened with being thrown on to the unemployment pyre.
“Unite will be doing everything in its power to safeguard the employment of our members – we don’t see why they should be the fall guys for what we view as corporate greed on a massive scale carried out in opaque circumstances.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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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.