The decision to close the Tradeteam Ltd depot in Sheffield and axe the jobs of 200 workers, currently furloughed, has been branded as ‘about as brutal as it gets’ by Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, today (Tuesday 19 May).
Unite will now be seeking a mandate from its Tradeteam reps nationally tomorrow (Wednesday 20 May) 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 per cent of pay as DHL has refused to top up the final 20 per cent 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.
“Tomorrow, Unite will be consulting our Tradeteam reps nationally with a view to holding an industrial action ballot that could include the option for strike action.
“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.”