Workers on strike at Derbyshire Marks & Spencer distribution site over redundancy pay-outs

Large numbers of staff are on strike at a Marks & Spencer distribution centre in Derbyshire, a councillor has claimed.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 3:08 pm

Members of the Usdaw union are taking industrial action in a dispute about the amount of redundancy pay long-serving staff will receive when the Long Eaton site closes at the end of July.

The industrial action affects a Marks & Spencer’s third-party logistics contract, operated by DHL.

Councillor Richard MacRae of neighbouring Broxtowe Borough Council, worked at the site for nine years and joined what he described as large numbers of striking staff today.

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Distribution workers are on strike over redundancy terms. Image for illustrative purposes only.
Distribution workers are on strike over redundancy terms. Image for illustrative purposes only.

He added: “Not only did I go to support my former work colleagues, some who have been there over 30 years, but to join the protest for the rights of the workers.

"They should receive the redundancy pay they are entitled to and not only be offered around half of what they say they are due to receive.”

Ed Leach, Usdaw area organiser, said industrial action was a last resort but had been backed by more than 90 per cent of staff in a ballot.

“Long-serving DHL employees, who have given decades of loyal service, deserve what we believe they are entitled to and fair treatment in these difficult times,” he said.

"It is extremely disappointing that we have been forced into this position by DHL’s refusal to agree that staff employed prior to July 2003, who are now being made redundant, are entitled to significantly enhanced redundancy pay.”

A spokesperson for DHL Supply Chain has said: “We are disappointed that Usdaw members went ahead with their industrial action today over redundancy terms at Long Eaton, when colleagues are already entitled to enhanced terms, which Usdaw itself signed up to.

"The move comes at a critical time for our customer and risks causing further hardship to our colleagues at Long Eaton.

"We now urge the union to reconsider its plans for further disruption - as we have repeatedly stated, any industrial action will not change the company’s position in regards to redundancy terms.”

An M&S spokesperson said: “Moving our operations is not a decision we took lightly but it’s an important change for our supply chain to help us best serve our customers longer term. DHL is working closely with the colleagues at the site.”