Workers employed by DHL Supply Chain in Liverpool, who undertake the Burton Biscuits and AB World Foods delivery contract, have voted for industrial action in a dispute over low pay, victimisation of workers and the complete collapse of industrial relations.

Wagon Wheel shortages

The dispute will result in supplies of Burton Biscuits’ brands Wagon Wheels and Jammie Dodgers, as well as AB World Foods’ brands including Patak and Blue Dragon, vanishing from supermarket shelves across much of the UK.

The 120 members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are employed as warehouse operators and delivery drivers by DHL, at its delivery centre in Portal Way, Liverpool. As a result of the yes vote in favour of strike action, Unite has announced eight days of strike action between 19 December and 5 January (see notes to editors for full details).

Victimisation

The strike is a result of a number of Unite members being dismissed on ‘spurious grounds’. Also, there has been a complete collapse of industrial relations due to the constant victimisation of workers by management.

Members are also taking industrial action against the poverty pay rates being offered by DHL. Despite the company being extremely profitable and this contract being especially lucrative, the pay offer currently on the table will result in warehouse operatives being paid just two and half pence above the national minimum wage when the rate is increased to £8.91 in April 2021.

Low pay culture

Unite is seeking agreement that all workers will be paid at least 50 pence above the minimum wage.

Talks about the dispute at the conciliation service Acas collapsed recently without agreement.

DHL under the spotlight

Unite regional officer Kenny Rowe said: “The wheels are falling off DHL’s operation in Liverpool.

 “Members are simply not prepared to accept poverty pay rates and workers being suspended or sacked on spurious charges, due to management victimisation, any longer.

 “This is an incredibly profitable contract and the workers have kept it rolling along continuously through two lockdowns and they have now said enough is enough. DHL have got to stop dodging its responsibility to pay a decent rate.

 “Given the just in time nature of supermarket operations, this strike action will quickly result in Wagon Wheels, Jammie Dodgers, Patak sauces and Blue Dragon products disappearing from shelves.

 “While customers will be disappointed that they will be unable to buy their normal products it is hoped that they understand that workers must be treated decently at work and receive a fair rate of pay.

 “Even at this late stage DHL can avoid this widespread disruption by making a decent pay offer and reverse the dismissal of workers, while ending the victimisation and ill-treatment of the workforce.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Full strike details

Commencing at 06:00 hours on 19th December 2020, concluding at 05:59 hours on 20th December 2020

Commencing at 06:00 hours on 20th December 2020, concluding at 05:59 hours on 21st December 2020

Commencing at 06:00 hours on 21st December 2020, concluding at 05:59 hours on 22nd December 2020

Commencing at 06:00 hours on 23rd December 2020, concluding at 05:59 hours on 24th  December 2020

Commencing at 06:00 hours on 29th December 2020, concluding at 05:59 hours on 30th December 2020

Commencing at 06:00 hours on 31st December 2020, concluding at 05:59 hours on 1st January 2021 

Commencing at 06:00 hours on 3rd  January 2021, concluding at 05:59 hours on 4th January 2021 

Commencing at 06:00 hours on 4th January 2021, concluding at 05:59 hours on 5th January 2021’ 

 During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.