DHL Tradeteam employees in Sheffield are to be balloted for industrial action over alleged neglect of health and safety at the site.
A ballot of more than 100 Unite drivers and drivers’ mates at Tradeteam’s Shepcote Lane depot, which services clients including Calrsberg, Greene King and Coors, will run from tomorrow (16 November) to Monday 27 November.
Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said that drivers are forced to move loads in excess of agreed weight limits, and along routes that take longer than their agreed hours.
She said: “We have raised grievances over the last two years, which have previously been heard by management who appeared to try and do something, but nothing that carried through in a meaningful way, and things slipped back to how they were before."
This, she told MT, was exacerbated by the entrance of new management at the site earlier this year, which reset the process of addressing drivers' concerns.
"Management has agreed to hear these grievances but we are balloting members too, because the drivers are really, really fed up.
"They are reasonable people and we were reluctant to start balloting, but our members really are at the end of their tether."
The issue could be resolved, said Eisner, by Tradeteam "employing more drivers to ease the pressure on delivery times, and the introduction of the appropriate machinery to facilitate the loading of the vehicles”.
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The ballot is the third dispute DHL Tradeteam has been faced with in recent weeks, after sites in Enfield and Leeds threatened industrial action if conditions on the operator’s new Calrsberg contract did not improve.
Unite, which represents employees at the Enfield site, said one vehicle had already been involved in an accident since the commencement of the operation.
Carlsberg outsourced it’s secondary logistics operation to Tradeteam last year, ending its tenure as one of the country’s largest own-account operators.
A spokesman for Unite said that the issues at the Shepcote Lane depot pre-dated the Carlsberg deal.
A spokesman for DHL Tradeteam said: “We are disappointed that Unite is balloting its members on industrial action.
"Further talks are scheduled and we look forward to addressing their concerns and resolving this issue at the earliest opportunity.”