Unite, has advised workers at the parcel and courier company UPS to refuse to accept cash on delivery (CoD) in order to protect their safety.
Unite gave the instruction to its members after UPS failed to respond to the union’s longstanding concerns that drivers were being placed at risk when they are required to demand CoD when delivering goods to customers.
The requirement for CoD has dramatically increased since the new year as, due to the UK having left the European Union, many deliveries now attract duties and levies and the UPS drivers are expected to collect these.
In one case, in Tamworth in the West Midlands, a UPS driver was assaulted when delivering a guitar, after informing the customer there were additional charges to pay.
Unite is further concerned that criminal elements are becoming aware that UPS drivers are being forced to carry cash around with them and this could make them targets for robberies. The current procedures in place for recording CoD payments are also inadequate and could result in customers claiming they have made payments and drivers being wrongly accused of stealing money.
The requirement for CoD is also a major health and safety issue during the Covid-19 pandemic. While many delivery organisations have gone cashless the failure of UPS to follow suit places drivers at risk of exposure to the virus, both through being unable to socially distance from the customer and because it is transmissible on notes and coins.
Unite national officer Matt Draper said, “Unite has today advised its members at UPS to stop accepting cash on delivery payments as a matter of safety.
“It is simply intolerable that our members are being assaulted and becoming potential robbery victims because UPS has not resolved a better method to collect additional charges from its customers,” he added.
“When huge sections of society including many delivery drivers and couriers have gone cashless in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 it is simply outrageous that UPS is making new demands that drivers collect cash from its customers.
“It is now down to UPS to prevent this dispute from escalating further by entering into sensible negotiations with Unite and ending the requirement for cash on delivery once and for all.”
By Barckley Sumner