GMB has called for an "urgent" meeting with DHL/UK Mail over claims the operator fired couriers who refused to sign a new contract.

The union lashed out at the business last month after its members said they had been pressured into signing a new contract which would enforce a £2,000 pay cut, with the threat of losing their jobs if they refused to comply.

DHL/UK Mail responded by saying while it had cut its pay-per-drop rate on its parcel deliveries, increased volumes meant drivers would still be able to increase their income under the new terms.

A statement from GMB this morning (8 February) claimed 20 drivers have since lost their jobs after refusing to sign the new contract. The union said it had called for an urgent meeting with the operator over the "draconian" treatment of the drivers.

GMB national officer for transport and distribution Mick Rix said: “We have organised a number of meetings up and down the country with GMB members, and more than 200 drivers and others working for DHL/UK Mail have joined GMB.

“They have simply had enough of their appalling treatment by the company executives and depot managers.

“Many are talking about the possibility of taking action.

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“DHL/UK Mail need to have a serious rethink, they claim to be a socially responsible company, yet their draconian treatment of drivers demonstrates these are just words on a website.

“We have written to DHL/UK Mail demanding an urgent meeting."

UK Mail has seen steady volume growth since it was bought by Deutsche Post DHL in 2016. Earlier this year it made three new senior appointments and last year opened three new sites to accommodate growing business.

The operator said it had no choice but to cut drivers' pay per drop if it wanted to remain competitive, in light of the enhanced volumes moving through its network.

A spokesman for UK Mail said: "Due to the booming e-commerce business and the significant increase of parcel volumes handled by UK Mail, we review the earnings of our self-employed drivers on a regular basis. This is essential to ensure we are able to offer our customers the competitive prices they demand.

"While we are confident that due to the increase in volumes our couriers are carrying, they will continue to see their average earnings increase, a small number of drivers have opted not to renew their contracts under the new terms."

He added: “For DHL globally, cooperating with independent, self-employed subcontractors is common practice, built on long-term collaborative partnerships. I

"In line with our corporate values, we operate with integrity and comply with all local market legislation. UK Mail is no exception - the company enjoys long-standing relationships with its body of self-employed last mile delivery couriers and strives for fair compensation based on payment per delivery stop."