Thousands of workers employed by DHL on the Jaguar Land Rover logistics contract in the West Midlands will have their pay protected during the company’s current two week shutdown, following an agreement secured by Unite but despite the company approaching negotiations late in the day and in bad faith.
The 4,000 affected DHL workers who are either directly employed or working via agencies will be paid for the two weeks of JLR’s shutdown which began on Monday, October 22, under a banked hours agreement.
The DHL employees are based at JLR’s plants at Solihull, Midpoint and TyreFort. Under the agreement the workforce are able to bank 100 hours which they then have to repay (through undertaking extra work).
However the banked hours agreement for the West Midlands DHL workers does not match the terms agreed for DHL workers at Halewood in the North West and nor does it attempt to follow the terms agreed for JLR’s employees in the West Midlands.
Negotiations with DHL in the West Midlands had been proceeding broadly in line with the terms agreed with DHL at Halewood only for DHL’s West Midlands management to backtrack at the last minute, revert to an outdated agreement over a decade old and communicate directly with the workforce despite having agreed with Unite to withhold communications pending agreement.
However Unite members have accepted the implementation of this 2008 agreement in Solihull, TyreFort and Midpoint only as a ‘temporary measure’ to ensure all workers, including those engaged via agencies, are paid during the shutdown.
Unite acting regional secretary for the West Midlands Howard Beckett said, “It was vital for the workers concerned that an agreement was reached to ensure that DHL workers will continue to be paid during the shutdowns at JLR sites.
“However this agreement was reached despite and not because of the manner in which DHL’s management conducted negotiations.
“This is a temporary agreement to ensure that all workers are paid during the current shutdown.”
Unite national officer Matt Draper added, “DHL must recognise that they need to sit down and enter into proper negotiations which ensure that workers in the West Midlands are not treated in an inferior manner to workers in the North West.
“Unite will now swiftly seek fresh negotiations with DHL to ensure that all workers are treated in the same way for future ‘banked hours’ agreements. The workforce have not asked for these shutdowns, they deserve to be treated with respect and the current difficulties must not be used by DHL to seek to achieve a 7-day working week through the imposition of terms relating to when and how ‘banked hours’ are returned.”