Workers at key Jaguar Land Rover supplier DHL are to ballot for industrial action in a dispute over pay.
A long-running pay dispute at the German-owned logistics group is set to spill over into conflict after workers were offered increases of just 53 pence an hour.
Up to 1,000 DHL drivers, forklift truck operators and handling staff are poised to vote on a 6.1 per cent pay rise – but workers have warned that the proposed new hourly rate of £9.16 an hour falls well short of their demand for an increase to £10.
Industrial action by DHL workers would jeopardise the deliveries of thousands of components to Jaguar Land Rover’s factories at Solihull and Castle Bromwich at a time of soaring demand for the group’s products.
An internal DHL document describes the pay offer to ‘warehouse colleagues’ as a ‘formal final wage offer’ offering ‘an increase of 6.1 per cent to all elements of pay.’
The document says: “For those currently earning £8.63 per hour this means a new hourly rate of £9.16 per hour or £357.24 basic pay per week, based on a 39-hour week.”
But a DHL worker, who asked not to be named, said: “We are looking for £10 an hour basic rate and this falls well short. We are not prepared to accept this.
“Land Rover is doing very well since Tata took over and Jaguar is also doing well, and the workers at DHL would like a slice of the action. The mood is pretty determined – at the end of the day we want to put a bit of extra money on the table.”
The worker said a vote for industrial action would threaten the supply of thousands of parts. “They will not be able to produce cars because parts will not be going into the plants.”
DHL pay negotiations have been dragging on since September 1 and unions had set an end of January target for final resolution of the claim.
In a document issued before Christmas, Unite accused DHL of adopting a “delaying and intransigent strategy” over the talks. DHL declined to comment.