Sainsbury’s to face HGV shortages over pay dispute

Sainsbury’s is set to face HGV shortages as over 250 low paid DHL workers are to be balloted for strike action in a dispute over low pay, according to trade union, Unite.

Discussions between the shipping company and the trade union broke down after DHL “refused” to make an offer that increases the basic rate of pay, instead offering one-off payments and bonus schemes and “attacked” workers’ conditions, including sick pay and holiday pay.

The workers are on three separate contracts resulting in them being paid different rates for undertaking the same job.

The lowest-pay rate is £11.22 an hour and the union is seeking an increase of at least £1.70 an hour on basic rates of pay, a 13% increase for the lowest paid.

“DHL can easily afford to pay our members properly and maintain their sick pay. This is just another case of boardroom greed before workers’ wages,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said.

“DHL has to do the decent thing or Sainsbury’s supplies will be disrupted.

READ MORE: Asda employees to be balloted on pay offer

“In recent months Unite has won a large number of significant pay increases for warehouse workers due to the union’s focus on defending the jobs, pay and conditions of our members.

“Unite will be providing its full support to our members in this dispute for a fair day’s pay.”

The ballot will open on 8 March and closes on 22 March. If the workers vote for action, strikes will begin later this spring.

Unite regional officer Shevaun Hunt added: “Strike action will quickly result in empty shelves in Sainsbury’s stores, but industrial action can be avoided if DHL is prepared to make an offer which meets members’ expectations.”

The news comes after Sainsbury’s put 2000 jobs at risk as it transforms its eat-in and takeaway food offer, closing 200 in-store cafes as well as several fresh bakeries and hot food counters.

Usdaw national officer Dave Gill commented: “This is devastating news for our members affected by Sainsbury’s proposals.

“Usdaw’s local reps and officials will now engage in talks with store managers, where they will be looking at the business case for the company’s planned changes.”

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