Union unveils DHL 'catalogue of shame'

11/7/2012

Global union the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has this week confronted Deutsche Post DHL with what it calls “a catalogue of shame”, alleging that the logistics giant is allowing its Turkish subsidiary to “get away with illegal anti-union campaigns”.

To press its claims, the ITF has unveiled the results of an investigation by a US academic, Professor John Logan, in a report entitled Aggressive and Unlawful.

The report into Deutsche Post DHL operations in Turkey is based on interviews with workers, union officials, labour lawyers, parliamentarians, journalists, academics and others, and the union claims it reveals “a well co-ordinated and sophisticated anti-union campaign involving management at the highest levels”.

The Logan report says that for well over a year, almost 1,500 workers and about 1,000 subcontracted employees who work at DHL Turkey’s supply chain division have been attempting to form a union.

The report alleges the company’s response has included “at least 21 sackings, apparently for union membership, under the pretext of poor performance, safety violations, or other vague violations of company policy; management pressure on workers, either through threats of dismissal or offers of financial incentives to sign notarised letters resigning from the union; direct warnings to employees that becoming unionised would harm their personal careers at DHL; and explicit anti-union threats by management intended to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation within the workplace”.

ITF co-ordinator Ingo Marowsky said: “This report provides the ‘smoking gun’ that DHL has long denied existed. The fact is that DHL in Turkey is out of control, with responsibility for that going right to the top of Deutsche Post DHL.

“Nothing less than a clean up and the reinstatement of these illegally sacked workers will do.”

A spokesman for Deutsche Post DHL told Lloyd’s Loading List.com: “All of our employees have the right to join a union of their choice. In many units and countries of Deutsche Post DHL our employees are represented by unions.

“The mentioned dismissals were all related to either violation of contractual obligations or issues of misconduct of the employees.

“We respect the rights of our employees to pursue legal action.

“Deutsche Post DHL adheres to national law and practices and respects the decisions taken in the legal procedures. To our knowledge, no court in Turkey has ruled that any of the dismissals are linked to union activities.”

The ITF said a delegation will arrive in Turkey on Friday, 9 November made up of Eduardo Chagas, ETF (European Transport Workers’ Federation) General Secretary and members of the European Parliament to investigate the situation.