Unite has condemned the decision to close the Tradeteam Ltd depot in Sheffield and axe the jobs of 200 furloughed workers as brutal.
The union is meeting reps to proceed to an industrial action ballot at its UK sites, following the decision not to reopen the Sheffield depot on the Tinsley Industrial Estate.
There are about 200 drivers and warehouse staff who will lose their jobs. The customers served from Sheffield include Carlsberg, Coors, Mitchells & Butlers, and Whitbread.
Currently, the workforce is on furlough. Tradeteam is part of DHL, the world’s largest logistics company.
Unite national officer for road transport and logistics Matt Draper said: “This is a disgrace and about as brutal a wielding of corporate power as you will see across the UK employment landscape. The workers are currently furloughed on 80% of pay as DHL has refused to top up the final 20 percent that employers are expected to do under the government’s job retention scheme (JRS).
“This is a loyal workforce with hundreds of years of service – they have been betrayed. DHL has taken the taxpayer for a ride here, as it must have known it was going to shut Tinsley, but decided to use furlough to avoid paying wages. Now it wants the taxpayer to continue to pick up the bill as it throws employees on the scrapheap.
“Unite had requested a meeting with Tradeteam so we could work with the company and understand what the post-lockdown future would look like. A meeting has been agreed for 28 May. Today, we see the true duplicitous and cynical face of DHL and Tradeteam.
“We call on Tradeteam to revoke its decision not to reopen Tinsley immediately, or face the prospect of a national strike, once the lockdown is eased.”
Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, said:
"The news of job losses at Tradeteam follows on from other similar stories. Figures from The Office for National Statistics show a staggering 69-per-cent rise in unemployment during the Covid-19 pandemic. I fear this will get much worse. Our union expects UK unemployment to grow and for bad bosses to use fake redundancies, unfair disciplinaries, and performance reviews as ways they can cut their workforce. We are already seeing this happen. I advise every worker in the UK to join a union (preferably ours!). Those workers not in a union, given what the future holds, will have little protection."