The ITF brought together nine unions from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the United States for this first XPO strategy meeting, on 6 April in Paris. They exchanged information about logistics company XPO’s business plan, current operations, acquisitions, corporate governance and key investors, and shared their experiences of working with XPO.
Participants also learned how the ITF’s safe rates campaign might apply to their XPO strategy. Based on previous ITF experience of building an international union network around a common employer, the unions developed a plan for XPO and agreed to set up a network to ensure good communications, co-ordination and solidarity.
Since 2011 US-based XPO Logistics has acquired 16 transportation companies, including Norbert Dentressangle and Conway, and seen its revenue soar from USD177 million that year to USD15 billion in 2015. Bradley Jacobs – XPO’s largest shareholder, chairman and chief executive officer – has embraced this strategy in pursuit of dramatic profits for himself and investors.
Unions and workers at XPO are greatly concerned that this focus on short-term profits will lead to loss of employment, lowered pay and benefits, social dumping, wage theft and degradation in safety standards, alongside anti-union behaviour and the denial of workplace rights.
Nick Weiner, port campaign director of the US Teamsters union, said: "This first XPO strategy meeting was truly an inspirational success. After learning our unions have shared concerns and challenges in securing a just future for XPO workers in our respective countries, we decided we must unite in order to achieve justice for all XPO workers. With such solidarity, I am confident we will be successful.”
The chair of the meeting, Alain Sutour of CGT Transports, France, commented that unions together during the meeting kept the ITF congress spirit alive by organising concretely how workers would strike back within XPO. He added that the multinational’s management would know that from now on it would have to deal with a united front by workers, whatever their nationality.