Union says 200 logistics workers to lose their jobs
A decision to close a logistics depot in Sheffield has been condemned by Britain and Ireland’s largest union – which says 200 jobs will be axed.
Unite says the end of the Tradeteam Ltd depot, on the Tinsley Industrial Estate, will lead to redundancies for drivers and warehouse staff.
Tradeteam is part of global logistics company DHL, which has blamed the planned closure on challenging trading conditions and Coronavirus’s shutting down of the hospitality industry.
DHL has confirmed the facility will shut in July.
Customers served from the depot include Carlsberg, Coors, Mitchells & Butlers, and Whitbread. Currently, the depot’s workforce is on furlough.
Unite says it is will be seeking a mandate from its Tradeteam reps nationally to proceed to an industrial action ballot at its UK sites.
Unite national officer for road transport and logistics, Matt Draper, said: “This is a disgrace and about as brutal a wielding of corporate power as you will see across the UK employment landscape.
“The workers are currently furloughed on 80 per cent of pay as DHL has refused to top up the final 20 per cent that employers are expected to do under the Government’s job retention scheme (JRS).
“This is a loyal workforce with hundreds of years of service – they have been betrayed.
“DHL has taken the taxpayer for a ride here, as it must have known it was going to shut Tinsley, but decided to use furlough to avoid paying wages.
“Now it wants the taxpayer to continue to pick up the bill as it throws employees on the scrapheap.
“Unite had requested a meeting with Tradeteam so we could work with the company and understand what the post-lockdown future would look like.
“A meeting has been agreed for 28 May. Today, we see the true duplicitous and cynical face of DHL and Tradeteam.
“Tomorrow – 20 May – Unite will be consulting our Tradeteam reps nationally with a view to holding an industrial action ballot that could include the option for strike action.
“We call on Tradeteam to revoke its decision not to reopen Tinsley immediately, or face the prospect of a national strike, once the lockdown is eased.”
A DHL Supply Chain spokesman responded: “In light of challenging trading conditions and the impact of the Coronavirus, which has shut down the UK hospitality industry for several months, we have reviewed our Tradeteam drinks distribution operation and concluded that we can support our north east customer base with two, rather than three, depots.
“As a result, we propose to close our depot in Tinsley, Sheffield, in July this year to protect our business for the long term.
“Affected staff have been informed of the situation and will shortly enter into consultation with the company and nominated representatives to discuss their options, including transferring to Tradeteam’s expanded operation at Tingley, Wakefield, or redeploying to other DHL sites in the Sheffield area.
“We thank staff for their ongoing commitment at this difficult time and stress that the decision has been based entirely on commercial factors and in no way reflects on the service levels at Tinsley in recent years.”