Deutsche Post-DHL brings race to the bottom home to Germany

ITF, Labour Disputes, Strikes — By on May 14, 2015 at 5:24 PM
Steve Cotton

Steve Cotton

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and UNI Global Union today condemned as cynical Deutsche Post-DHL’s move to drastically cut the pay of its parcel delivery workers in Germany.

Thousands of ver.di union members at Deutsche Post-DHL are taking strike action this week, fighting back against the company’s unacceptable attempts to break its collective agreement and force thousands of parcel delivery workers into lower-paid jobs.

ITF general secretary Steve Cotton said: “The company’s tactics have no place in 21st century Germany and thousands and thousands of its workers are standing up to them. DP-DHL has been caught trying to divide and even break one of the nation’s biggest trade unions. One hundred and forty thousand workers negotiated, struggled and proved their worth in order to secure decent collective bargaining rights. Now the company is trying to weasel its way around them and its own commitments. Those 140, 000 workers – backed by their colleagues worldwide – say it won’t get away with it.

“Sadly, DP-DHL has put itself on trial once again. This time it isn’t for permitting dirty and exploitative treatment of workers in India, Latin America and Turkey. This time it’s happening at home. Germany can now be added to the roll call of nations where DP-DHL is actively subverting or falling way below the standards it claims to espouse.”

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.

“Deutsche Post-DHL is bringing the race to the bottom home to Germany. The creation of ‘DHL Delivery’ is a cynical ploy to tear up the existing agreements in Deutsche Post and strip away ver.di members’ hard-earned pay. Along with our partner the ITF, UNI and our affiliates will stand shoulder to shoulder with our ver.di colleagues until Deutsche Post-DHL changes its position.”

Several weeks ago, DP-DHL announced plans to cut the pay of as many as 10, 000 postal workers by moving them out of Deutsche Post and into a new shell company called DHL Delivery. Although their work would remain exactly the same, the affected workers would lose as much as €3, 500 per year in pay. 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.

Ver.di are incensed by DP-DHL’s attempts to slash conditions without consultation. The move is clearly in breach of an existing agreement forbidding uncontrolled outsourcing and comes at a time when DP-DHL is massively profitable and has even recently increased its dividend. When the plans were first announced, ver.di called for a wave of warning strikes over a number of weeks. More recently, after negotiations broke down this weekend, ver.di has called for a new round of strikes across the country, and thousands of workers to fight back against DP-DHL’s unyielding pursuit of the pay cuts.

The German dispute comes during ongoing discussions between UNI Global Union and the International Transport Workers Federation with DP-DHL about the company’s failure to respect workers’ rights around the world. The global unions are dismayed that DP-DHL’s record of ignoring the demands of their employees has followed them home to Germany.

“Jo”

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