Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has secured an ‘excellent’ furlough agreement covering 13,000 Kuehne + Nagel staff that will see the logistics company top up payments workers receive under the government’s job retention scheme.
Following negotiations with the union, Kuehne + Nagel will ensure that workers receive 100 per cent of their wages if they earn under £20,000 and 90 per cent of their wages if they earn under £30,000, Unite said today (Tuesday 7 April).
Under the job retention scheme, workers will receive 80 per cent of their wages, up to maximum of £2,500 per month, from the government during the lockdown.
A sliding scale will be used by Kuehne + Nagel to top up the wages of staff earning between £30,000 and £40,000, with workers in this bracket receiving 86 per cent of their wages on average.
Employees also have the option to move onto food delivery contracts that are still operational to avoid being furloughed and retain their full pay packet.
The furlough agreement is particularly important for staff working in Kuehne + Nagel’s food and drink logistics operations, where Unite has about 6,500 members, because deliveries to restaurants, pubs, cafes and hotels across the UK have stopped during the lockdown.
Unite national officer for food, drink and agriculture Joe Clarke said: “This is an excellent deal for our members at Kuehne + Nagel and indeed for all of the company’s employees.
“Kuehne + Nagel staff, while still facing some wage reductions, can rest assured that they will be able to afford to pay their bills and feed their families during the lockdown.
“For those who still want to work and earn 100 per cent of their wages, the company is offering them the opportunity to move onto contracts that are still operational.
“Over the past two weeks, Unite has worked closely with Kuehne + Nagel to get this furlough deal through. Other companies should take the lead from Kuehne + Nagel and make sure their staff are equally well looked after during this crisis.”