Lorry drivers using the Unions to leverage pay raises and better working conditions
Lorry drivers around the country have managed to negotiate higher salaries and better working conditions through the Unite trade union.
DHL truck drivers at Sainsbury Dartford have secured a 6.25% pay rise; while GXO drivers have netted a 23% pay increase. Finally, Heinz drivers in Wigan will see their earnings increase by over 25%. Some drivers will even receive a 36% raise, an extra 5 days of holidays and 6 months paid sick leave.
Over the last 48 hours, Unite has published several announcements about pay increases for lorry drivers around the UK. For starters, the organisation has secured a “significant” pay rise for more than 200 DHL lorry drivers employed at the Sainsbury’s regional distribution centre in Dartford.
The increase, worth 6.2%, equates to at least £2,200 a year.
DHL is contracted to run Sainsbury’s Dartford regional distribution centre, including driving and warehouse operations.
The drivers voted by 90 per cent to accept the pay offer.
Unite regional officer Phil Silkstone said: “Following negotiations with Unite, DHL put forward a pay offer that was acceptable to their Dartford workforce.
“This significant pay rise is exactly why workers wanting to improve their wages and working lives should join Unite and encourage their colleagues to do the same.”
The agreement comes after the drivers indicated their willingness to strike over pay during a consultative ballot held in August, prompting fears of a shortage of goods on shop shelves.
It comes as many stores and businesses feel the pinch of a nationwide lack of HGV drivers.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “By standing firm and rejecting DHL’s initial offer of just one per cent, Unite’s DHL members at Sainsbury’s Dartford distribution centre secured a pay deal that reflects their worth.
“As a union, Unite is wholly dedicated to bettering members’ jobs, pay and conditions, either through negotiations or industrial action if necessary.”
Pay rise for GXO drivers and warehouse workers
Unite also negotiated an inflation-busting pay increase for 350 drivers and warehouse staff working for drinks logistics giant GXO. Lorry drivers’ pay will be increased by up to 23%, while warehouse staff will get a 10% pay rise . The 15-month deal runs until 1 January 2023.
The sites covered in the agreement include Coventry, Derby, Hams Hall (Warwickshire), Livingston, Minworth (West Midlands), Newton Heath (Manchester), Thatcham (Berkshire) and Wakefield.
Two-tier workforce ended on Heinz distribution contract in Wigan, with workers securing pay increases
Unite also managed to end the two-tier workforce on the Heinz distribution contract in Wigan, resulting in many drivers seeing their earnings increase by over 25%.
The agreement covers 26 drivers employed by distribution company Wincanton on the outsourced Heinz contract.
By ending the two-tier workforce, the drivers on the contract who are currently on so-called ‘second generation contracts’ will see their pay increase by between 25 – 36%.
Unite says employers across the distribution and road haulage industry have increasingly used second and even third generation contracts, where new recruits are on lower pay and poorer conditions than existing drivers, to force down costs and so creating a race to the bottom.
Unite believes the widespread use of so-called ‘second generation contracts’ is a significant factor in the current shortage of HGV drivers.
In addition, the workers will receive an additional five days holiday a year and the entire workforce will be entitled to sick pay equivalent to six months full pay and then six months half pay.
In addition, the workers will receive an additional five days’ holiday a year and the entire workforce will be entitled to sick pay equivalent to six months full pay and then six months half pay.
Unite regional officer Kenny Rowe said: “So-called second-generation contracts and two-tier workforces are a blight on the haulage and distribution industry. It is entirely immoral that workers are paid different rates for the same work.
“Unite is dedicated to repeating its success on the Heinz contract across the UK to ensure that workers are paid a fair rate for the job.
Answer to HGV driver shortage is better wages and improved conditions, says Unite.
Commenting on the lorry driver shortages, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:
“The treatment of drivers across the board has been nothing short of a disgrace. As the prime minister said recently, the answer to the driver shortage is better wages and improved conditions. This is what we demand.
“Now is the time for action not words. Britain’s drivers kept the nation moving during the worst crisis in living memory. It’s time for employers to pay workers a proper rate for the job. Enough is enough.
“Unite will be consulting its members before deciding on next steps, including exploring the options for industrial action. I will not allow workers to pay the price for the pandemic.”