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Updated: German unions see red over DHL tactics

[ May 15, 2015   //   ]

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and UNI Global Union says that thousands of ver.di union members at Deutsche Post-DHL will strike this week in a dispute over ending of a collective agreement and pay rates. ITF general secretary Steve Cotton accused the logistics company of “trying to divide and even break one of the nation’s biggest trade unions,” pointing out that DHL had already been embroiled in disputes in India, Latin America and Turkey.
UNI Global Union general secretary Philip Jennings said, “Something is wrong at Deutsche Post-DHL Germany. The company’s behaviour confirms they are abandoning their commitment to decent work and responsible conduct. The company has turned on its German workforce.”
One move that has angered the unions has been a plan announced several weeks ago to move 10,000 postal workers out of Deutsche Post and into a new DHL Delivery shell company where pay rates would be up to €3,500 a year lower. The workers would also lose access to the existing collective agreement in Deutsche Post and would no longer be represented by the existing works councils in the company.
DHL was approached for a response, but had not replied at the time of writing.
In response, DHL said: “We do not understand this criticism. In the next few years we will create at least 10,000 new, permanent jobs subject to full social insurance contributions in Germany on the basis of existing collective bargaining agreements concluded between ver.di and the employers’ associations of the freight forwarding and logistics industry. We need these employees in order to accommodate the continuing growth in the parcel market while maintaining a high quality of service for our customers. We will thus be able to offer individuals long-term professional prospects while retaining our competitive edge.”
DHL also denied that it had failed to observe the collective bargaining agreement. “The newly established companies apply existing collective agreements negotiated and signed by ver.di itself in our freight forwarding and logistics industry – ver.di itself summed up the most recent conclusion of a collective wage agreement for freight forwarding and logistics in Bavaria with the remark that good wages would now be paid for good work. At the same time, existing collective agreements at Deutsche Post AG continue to apply unchanged for the people employed there. So how can it be claimed that we are not observing collective bargaining agreements?
DHL added that “the usual legal framework” of labour, collective bargaining and industrial relations law also apply to the DHL Delivery. “We strongly support the idea of participation. The establishment of works councils is part of normal life in large enterprises,” it said.

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