German postal workers’ trade union Ver.di has called for indefinite strike action after talks broke down during the sixth round of negotiations with Deutsche Post DHL.
Talks began after the company had previously announced plans to hire 10,000 workers by 2020 into one of its newly formed subsidiaries, DHL Delivery. To maintain a competitive edge in light of rapidly declining letter volumes, the company said that new workers would need to accept a lower and more competitive wage structure than the rest of the group.
The union group argues that this disregards previous agreements set in place with the unions, particularly a limit on the amount of business that the company is able to outsource.
Andrea Kocsis, deputy chairman and chief negotiator for Ver.di, said “Deutsche Post DHL has not moved a millimeter in the previous six rounds of negotiations toward a settlement of the conflict.
“We now have to massively increase the pressure and call on the Ver.di members of DHL to take part in indefinite industrial action.”
Melanie Kreis, board member for human resources and labor director at Deutsche Post DHL, said, “Ver.di’s proposal does not contribute to a sustainable future for employees or the company. By demanding that the regional parcel delivery companies, which have been operating for months, be disbanded, the trade union is challenging its own regional collective bargaining agreements for the freight and logistics industry.
“Now they are calling on 130,000 Deutsche Post employees to go on strike in protest against regional companies, in which 6,000 employees work under collective bargaining agreements. This so-called proposal, which came with the ultimatum that it be accepted immediately, and was therefore not even open to negotiation, does not resolve our issues. Additional costs of around 300m (US$338m) would considerably exacerbate our competitive disadvantage.
“No-one will lose their job on account of DHL Delivery. No one should fear lower pay or loss of vested rights as a result. However, we will not be able to remain competitive in the future unless we have a sustainable competitive wage structure. We call on Ver.di to return to the negotiating table and to work with us in the interests of our employees and their future.”
June 9, 2015