Over 250 warehouse workers employed by DHL on the outsourced Sainsbury’s contract are to be balloted for strike action in a dispute over low pay.


The workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are based at the distribution centre in Emerald Park in Bristol. The distribution centre supplies Sainsbury’s stores throughout South West England and as far as west Wales.


Pay issues


The workers are on three separate contracts resulting in them being paid different rates for undertaking the same job. The lowest paid is on £11.22 an hour. Unite is seeking an increase of at least £1.70 an hour on basic rates of pay, a 13 per cent increase for the lowest paid.


Negotiations broke down after DHL refused to make an offer which increased the basic rate of pay, instead offering one-off payments and bonus schemes, but also attacked workers’ conditions including sick pay and holiday pay.


DHL pay up


Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “DHL can easily afford to pay our members properly and maintain their sick pay. This is just another case of boardroom greed before workers’ wages. DHL has to do the decent thing or Sainsbury’s supplies will be disrupted.


“In recent months Unite has won a large number of significant pay increases for warehouse workers due to the union’s focus on defending the jobs, pay and conditions of our members.


“Unite will be providing its full support to our members in this dispute for a fair day’s pay."


Ballot dates


The ballot will open on Tuesday 8 March and closes on Tuesday 22 March. If the workers vote for action, strikes will begin later this spring.


DHL, which is German owned, is immensely wealthy and fully able to make the warehouse workers a fair pay offer. Last year, DHL predicted record earnings of 7.7 billion euros.


No option


Unite regional officer Shevaun Hunt said: “Our members have been left with no option but to ballot for strike action as despite protracted negotiations, DHL has made an insulting offer to our members.


“Strike action will quickly result in empty shelves in Sainsbury’s stores, but industrial action can be avoided if DHL is prepared to make an offer which meets members’ expectations.”


Last November 140 lorry drivers employed on the same DHL contract called off strike action after receiving a substantial pay increase.




Notes to editors:


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]


Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion Web: unitetheunion.org


Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.