DHL Supply Chain is facing up to 15 days of strike action from its warehouse workers in protest at the “brutal” planned closure of its South Yorkshire site, following the loss of a contract to Great Bear Distribution.
The dispute also centres on a “derisory” pay offer of 1.25%, resulting in Unite union members voting 78% in favour of a rolling programme of strikes beginning on 15 May.
DHL lost a contract to Great Bear Distribution and the staff must now TUPE across to Great Bear’s site at Markham Vale.
However, Unite said 120 warehouse staff at Tickhill in Doncaster and at nearby Harworth will down tools for 24 hours, and then again for three days on 25 May followed by 11 days from 1 June.
Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said: “The strikes are in response to a derisory pay offer of 1.25% and in the context of a brutal TUPE manoeuvre, which will see the closure of DHL’s Harworth site and potential job losses for many of the 150 workers based there.
“These are individuals, many of whom are ex-miners, who walk or cycle to work from the neighbouring villages of Tickhill and Harworth and will be expected to travel 20 miles to the site at Markham Vale, operated by Great Bear Distribution, where warehouse workers are paid £1 an hour less.”
DHL said it was disappointed by the vote and that Harworth’s closure was prompted by its customer’s decision to transfer to a new provider.
A DHL spokeswoman added: “Throughout the process we have expressed our willingness to meet with Unite to discuss the situation and we have not only met, but exceeded, our legal obligations to our workforce under TUPE who will now transfer to Great Bear.
“Contingency plans are being prepared and every effort will be made to minimise any disruption to service. We continue to urge Unite to return to the negotiating table to resolve this matter at the earliest opportunity.”
A spokesman for Great Bear Distribution said it was in discussions with DHL and Unite over the potential transfer of the employees.
He said: "Great Bear is working hard to secure as many successful employment transfers as possible from the DHL facility in Harworth and considers that on-going discussions in this regard remain constructive and positive.
The union and employees continue to be engaged in meaningful consultation with Great Bear representatives."