DH ‘HELL’ Covid Disgrace

Monday 1st March 2021

DH ‘HELL’ Covid Disgrace

DHL Parcels UK has had an outbreak of Covid-19 cases after allegedly failing to enforce Government regulations at their Manchester depot.

CWU members at the Trafford Park site have accused the company of knowingly allowing a Day Shift Manager who had been off work for a week with flu-like symptoms to return without adhering to self-isolation requirements and without obtaining a coronavirus test.

Concerned office and warehouse staff raised the matter at a meeting with the Site Manager, only to be told that the Shift Manager was “confident” he did not have coronavirus.

This is despite the fact he had come into close contact with another Day Shift Manager who had already tested positive, and who has now sadly died after contracting the virus.

Since the manager’s return to work, over a third of the workforce have since tested positive for coronavirus, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been called in to look at a range of measures to protect employees.

Local managers initially told worried employees at the depot that they should get a Covid test, but if they had to take time off work to get a test they would only be paid if the test came back positive. However, once the extent of the problem became clear they reneged and implemented workplace testing.

The CWU has previously written to the company’s HR Director, Sarah Maddox, raising concerns over the removal of Covid-related absences from the Company’s Sickness Absence Policy and contractual Sick Pay process (effective from 1st July 2020).

Nerijus Pangonis, CWU Rep at DHL’s Coventry hub said, “DHL workers aren’t paid for Covid isolation. As key workers, DHL staff are at an increased risk of contracting the virus and the company should be making it as easy as possible for them to isolate when necessary.”

Jim McNicholls, Branch Secretary of Greater Manchester Branch, said, “Unfortunately, this worrying development is not completely unexpected. Throughout the pandemic, DHL Parcels have continued to operate a ‘business as usual’ approach, even though their policy decisions impact the spread of the virus. It is simply wrong, and is putting both employees and customers in unnecessary danger.”

Some of the depot’s owner van drivers, who come in to direct contact with DHL customers when delivering parcels, have now also tested positive for the virus.

Trafford Councillor, Mike Cordingley, who sits on Trafford Council’s public health committee, said: “DHL is a multinational company that has benefited massively from the pandemic because of the increase in online sales. It is an absolute disgrace that they have failed to protect their staff, and potentially their customers, in this way.”

The General Secretary of the CWU, Dave Ward, along with the Mayor for Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, Leader of Trafford Council, Andrew Western, and the local MP, Kate Green, have all written to Peter Fuller, DHL Parcels UK CEO, raising their concern over a lack of any coherent nationally applied policy.


For more information, please contact CWU Field Organiser Elaine Taylor on 07872 816746 or etaylor@cwu.org