Workers employed by DHL at Jaguar Land Rover’s West Midlands and Merseyside plants are preparing to ballot for strike action over what their union has described as an “insulting” pay offer.
Unite said today its members employed at the plants in Halewood, Castle Bromwich, Solihull, Tyrefort, Midpoint and Hams Hall have been given “incorrect pay slips” for months due to the firm’s use of flexible furlough.
The union said some staff were owed up to £800 in arrears.
Unite also said anger had been further stoked by DHL’s refusal to offer a reasonable pay rise during recent negotiations.
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The union will now begin the process of balloting its more than 2,000 DHL members for strike action at the six sites.
When contacted for a comment, DHL said it was disappointed Unite is balloting members – but “hopeful of bringing matters to a conclusion that is satisfactory to both parties”.
It add that it was aware staff had received incorrect pay – and it was “working hard to resolve this complex issue”.
Unite national officer Matt Draper said: “If our members had performed their duties in the same manner as DHL has handled the issue of flexible furlough pay, they would have been sacked.
“DHL is the biggest logistics company in the world, yet it cannot get people’s pay right. It is pitiful that a company this size has a payroll department that is currently not fit for purpose.”
Mr Draper said the workforce was “rapidly losing patience” that pay issues had “still not been sorted out”.
He added: “It is outrageous that some staff are owed nearly £1,000 in back pay.
“Adding insult to injury, DHL has come back with a completely insulting pay offer for its hard working and loyal Solihull staff. This is despite the company reporting record breaking profits of €1.3 billion for the first half of this year.
“If it wants to avoid serious industrial unrest, DHL needs to pay the wages it owes, as well as putting forward a pay offer that isn’t a slap in the face for an already disgruntled workforce.”
A full statement from DHL said: “Regrettably, we are aware that a number of our colleagues in the Midlands and Merseyside have received incorrect pay.
“We are working hard to resolve this complex issue and have asked colleagues for their understanding at this time.
“We are in continual dialogue with Unite representatives regarding the resolution process and held a productive session today with some of the representatives to discuss this in detail at one of the affected sites.
“On the issue of pay, we have met with Unite on a number of occasions over the past few months and will be meeting again in the next few days to continue our discussions. We are hopeful of bringing matters to a conclusion that is satisfactory to both parties.
“We are disappointed that Unite is balloting its members on industrial action whilst we are actively trying to resolve all outstanding issues, and have not yet concluded the pay negotiations process.
“We would therefore ask Unite to reconsider its decision and look forward to positive discussions at the earliest opportunity.”