Workers on brink of walk out at Jaguar Land Rover over pay row

By Tom Duffy

DHL workers at the Jaguar Land Rover plant in Halewood are considering industrial action over a pay dispute with management.

A letter from trade union Unite to DHL staff at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Halewood has revealed that workers have recently rejected an offer from management in relation to a pay claim.

The letter, leaked to the ECHO, reveals that workers are locked in a dispute with management over banked hours, where management lay off staff on full pay due to reduced demand. The staff then have that money deducted from future earnings when they return to work.

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Unite claim that management at JLR are set to withdraw the banked hours scheme for workers who do not accept their pay offer, which would result in workers being sent home on no pay.

The letter reads: "As a result of a consultative ballot on DHL/JLR’s final offer for our 2020 pay claim, you the members voted overwhelmingly to reject the offer by 96%.

"We are now proceeding with the postal ballot for a mandate for industrial action and the timeline for this will be shared in the coming days.

" DHL/JLR have made it clear that any new banked hours proposal will only be offered on the acceptance of their derisory pay offer that our members have rejected."

Unite national officer Matt Draper said to the ECHO : “DHL are trying to force our members into accepting an agreement that marries any pay offer with a one-size-fits-all banked hours scheme.

“The company’s underhand tactics have now resulted in the prospect of hundreds of Merseyside DHL staff being sent home without pay because the site’s current banked hours agreement runs out tomorrow.

"DHL's staff at JLR in Birmingham are well aware they are in danger of being treated just as badly when their banked hours agreements run out.

“Banked hours schemes require localised and sensitive negotiations and our members have been clear they will not be bullied into accepting unsuitable terms by having their pay threatened.

“DHL needs to realise that this dispute is on the verge of becoming extremely disruptive.

“Unite calls on the company to deescalate the situation and repair industrial relations by providing a standalone pay deal and negotiating banked hours on site-by-site basis.”

A spokesperson for DHL Supply Chain said: “Due to the continuing impact of the global semiconductor shortage on the automotive sector, regrettably we need to stand down a substantial number of colleagues supporting our Halewood operations.

"During negotiations in recent months with Unite the union, we have repeatedly stressed the importance of introducing a standardised banked hours scheme across the contract. More than ever, we urge the union to accept our more flexible terms to help us protect jobs for the future.”

A spokesperson for JLR said: “We encourage both DHL and its Unite members to reach an agreement. We appreciate DHL employees are impacted by the supply chain challenges affecting our production schedules at Halewood and we continue to work closely with suppliers to overcome the global supply chain disruptions that are currently impacting our industry."

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