Warehouse staff at DHL Supply Chain’s Cherwell Campus site in Banbury, Oxfordshire, are being balloted for industrial action by the GMB union after rejecting a 2.5% pay offer.

GMB organiser David Day said the ballot had been called because management had failed to offer a pay increase that reflected the high costs of living in the Oxford area and also as a result of an attempt by DHL to tie the increase up with the introduction of more flexible working patterns at the shared user site that would do away with weekend overtime payments.

Although DHL management had improved upon an original offer made in the spring, said Day, the current 2.5% proposal was still disappointing compared with some other DHL sites and to average pay rises in the private sector of about 3.5%.

“I’ve already said ‘give me 3.5% and I’ll recommend it is accepted’ – but they haven’t done it yet,” he told Motortransport.co.uk.

More than 200 staff at three warehouses on the site are being asked to vote on industrial action in the ballot, which ends on 6 November.

“My gut feeling is that it will be an overwhelming majority for taking some form of industrial action. The workforce has had enough,” said Day.

A DHL spokeswoman said it was “disappointed the GMB union has rejected our pay offer and is balloting its members at Cherwell”.

She added: “Our pay offer is generous in the current economic climate and we urge the union to reconsider and return to the negotiating table to resolve the matter.”

She denied the pay offer was dependent on any requirement to increase flexibility in working patterns at the site as the union alleged, but refused to confirm whether DHL was separately asking its workforce to adopt a five-in-seven working pattern that would include weekend working at standard rates of pay.