The decisions to close the Tradeteam Ltd depot in Sheffield and downgrade the site at Ebbw Vale, south Wales with the loss of more than 250 jobs has been branded as ‘shameful’ by Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, today (Wednesday 5 August).

Unite accused Tradeteam, part of DHL, the world’s largest logistics company, of taking taxpayer-funded furlough cash, while planning to close the Sheffield site and downgrade Ebbw Vale, which, the union said, was ‘sharp practice; legally correct, but morally bankrupt.’

The Sheffield depot at the Tinsley Industrial Estate officially closes on 14 August when about 200 drivers and warehouse staff will lose their jobs. The customers served from Sheffield include Carlsberg, Coors, Mitchells & Butlers and Whitbread.

More than 50 jobs at the Ebbw Vale site are being made redundant, however, due to strong Unite campaigning, a further 13 full-time jobs will be saved as Ebbw Vale becomes an ‘outstation’ and other work is transferred to Swansea.

Unite national officer for road transport and logistics Matt Draper said: “DHL has taken the taxpayer for a ride here, as it must have known it was going to shut the Sheffield site and much reduce the workforce at Ebbw Vale.

“However, it decided to use furlough money from the government to avoid paying wages of the respective workforces during this period.

“These are loyal employees with hundreds of years of service – they have been treated shamefully.

“DHL’s senior management may feel smug that they have boosted their profit margins by a small degree, but we consider it sharp practice. It may tick all the boxes legally, but it is morally bankrupt.”

Matt Draper said that some of the Sheffield work had been transferred to Tingley, Leeds where the workers were working flat out to meet the higher than forecast demand, reinforcing the view that there was no need to close the profitable Tinsley site in the first place.

Unite regional officer for Tradeteam members in Wales Dave Gunter said: “We were astonished that the Ebbw Vale site was targeted as it is a profitable depot with a dedicated workforce. We regard it as an unnecessary and immoral move to axe more than 50 jobs.

“However, due to the tireless work of the Unite reps and local management, we were able to salvage 13 full time jobs, by turning it into an outstation, with the transfer of some additional work to the Swansea depot, which may generate additional jobs and provide longer-term security for those currently employed.

“This, of course, is no consolation to those loyal employees, many with long service history, who have been denied the right to continue to provide for their families in this current environment by the actions of the top bosses at DHL Tradeteam. 

“I would also like to thank Nick Smith, MP for Blaenau Gwent, and Welsh Parliament MS Alun Davies and their teams for their assistance and support during our campaign to maintain the depot at Ebbw Vale.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: shaun.noble@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.