UPS remains hopeful that strike action can be avoided in the run up to Christmas, despite the Unite union’s plan to ballot staff for action at the operator’s London depot in Camden.

The union has claimed that the 120 drivers and loaders at the operator’s Camden depot are being forced to handle unreasonable workloads.

It has launched a ballot for strike action, with a closing date of 8 November, and says action could hit deliveries in the peak period for the parcels sector, affecting deliveries in central and West London.

Onay Kasab, Unite regional officer, said: “The issues are unreasonable workloads, forced overtime, bullying and disciplinary action. The loaders are given far too many vans to stack and its back breaking work with major health and safety concerns.

“The drivers are also given far too many deliveries each day. The targets set are unachievable. Some of the deliveries will be timed deliveries - the customer will expect a delivery at a set time.”

Unite also claimed  that the company had adopted the position with workers that if they don’t like the situation they can find work elsewhere.

UPS hopeful

In response, a spokeswoman for UPS said: “UPS can confirm that despite active negotiations with Unite the Union there will be a ballot for strike action at our London Central Centre taking place up until 8 November.

"UPS will continue to engage in discussions with Unite and we remain hopeful that a mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached.

"People are our greatest resource, and UPS works closely with labour unions around the world. It is UPS’s policy to comply with all laws governing employment and labour practices worldwide and UPS is careful to take into account the point-of-view of unions along with the interests of our customers, our employees, our shareholders and our company as a whole,” she said.