12 November 2013
Parcel deliveries in London could be severely hit in the run-up to Christmas, after staff at UPS Parcels voted overwhelmingly to strike in a dispute over unreasonable workloads and alleged bullying.
The 120 drivers and loaders, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, who work at the Camden depot – the biggest UPS depot in Europe – have voted by a massive 91 per cent to take strike action.
Last ditch negotiations with the Regis Street management are due to be held on Wednesday 20 November, but if these fail, strike action will go-ahead before the end of the month.
The drivers and loaders are protesting about excessive workloads, forced overtime and bullying. The dispute has now escalated following the suspension of a Unite shop steward after the notice of ballot was issued to the employer.
Unite reps in depots across London - Barking, Croydon, Dartford and Feltham - have asked for the union to ballot members on the same issues, while the RMT union, which also has members at UPS, is also balloting its members for industrial action.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Our members have sent a message, loud and clear, to the company that we will take strike action, if our members’ legitimate grievances are not addressed.
“The company’s action in suspending our rep is a clear case of victimisation. This is the true face of UPS parcels – forget the smiley faces in the adverts.
“Profits come first. If that is achieved by bullying and stopping our members having a decent work-life balance with their families, then that is clearly a price that UPS thinks is worth paying. We will not stand by and allow our members to be treated in this appalling way.
“During the ballot period, UPS used every trick in the book to try and get our members to vote ‘no’ to a strike. This included threats of dismissal, but threats combined with bribes, such as breakfasts on selected mornings when the employer wanted to put its propaganda across, didn’t work – they still voted overwhelmingly for strike action.
“Strike action will take place before the end of November, unless the company reaches a fair and equitable settlement.”
Onay Kasab warned that UPS customers across London could find their parcel deliveries severely disrupted in the weeks before Christmas – and that UPS could lose out to their competitors, the Royal Mail and DHL.