Logistics unions in the UK have blasted DHL for ‘endangering thousands’ with ‘inadequate’ coronavirus social distancing and safety measures and by forcing self-isolating workers to survive on statutory sick pay (SSP).  

The Unite, GMB, Usdaw, RMT and URTU trade unions today (Thursday 16 April) called on DHL, which employs around 41,000 people in the UK, to work with them to resolve its workforce’s concerns over Covid19 safety and the rate of pay for staff who are self-isolating or have been furloughed. 

The unions said DHL’s refusal to acknowledge ‘urgent concerns’ over a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the possibility that symptomatic and at-risk staff may stay at work because of the dramatic drop in their incomes on SSP, showed an ‘utter disdain’ for its workforce.

The joint trade unions statement said: “DHL is one of the largest and wealthiest logistics companies in the world and during the Covid19 pandemic should be leading by example. 

“Instead the company is showing utter disdain for its workforce by disregarding the urgent concerns of its staff over a lack of PPE and a failure to carry out safety and social distancing measures across its operations. 

“DHL’s refusal to grant full company sick pay to symptomatic workers who need to self-isolate, or to those with underlying health conditions, is also a huge cause of concern. 

“There is a real danger that staff who should not be leaving the house will continue to go to work because they cannot afford to pay their bills on the basic SSP rate of £95.85 a week. All DHL staff should be entitled to full company sick pay if they are forced to self-isolate.

“A company that is worth tens of billions should also be topping up the wages of those staff who have been furloughed, instead of simply taking advantage of the government’s job retention scheme. 

“DHL’s inadequate response to the pandemic is endangering thousands. We call on the company to meaningfully negotiate with the joint trade unions to address the concerns of its loyal workforce, many of whom are exposing themselves to risk to ensure essential services keep running.”

ENDS

For more about Unite's work during the coronavirus crisis to keep workers and the public safe, and to protect jobs and incomes, click here.

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: ryan.fletcher@unitetheunion.org

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

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