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Joint UNI-ITF release. The case against Deutsche Post–DHL: allegations of labour violation
21 November 2012
UNI Global Union (UNI) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) today brought a case to the German government alleging that Deutsche Post DHL (DP-DHL) has committed a series of labour violations outside of Germany which breach the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. These are agreed by 42 countries and enforced by national governments.
UNI Global Union Deputy General Secretary, Christy Hoffman said, “DP-DHL is the largest logistics company in the world. DP-DHL is breaching the global standards for multinational corporations to conduct responsible business. As Germany is one of its major shareholders, we, along with our partner, the ITF, are asking the German government to step up to its responsibility to take action. We are bringing this case to ensure that DP-DHL adheres to the OECD guidelines and its global workforce is treated with respect and dignity.”
UNI and ITF’s concerns have been documented over a litany of labour violations. However, DP-DHL has not given any concrete answers or assurances.
In Turkey DP-DHL has run a sustained and coordinated strategy to limit workers’ freedom of association, including the firing of a group of workers during an organising campaign, under the pretext of “poor performance” and other vague notions of company policy. The Turkish Labour Court has heard eight of the cases of dismissal so far and in all eight cases the company’s reasons for the dismissals were ruled invalid.
“DP-DHL Chief Executive Frank Appel went on record recently as saying that the circumstances around the firing of more than 20 workers in Turkey are being investigated. We have seen no evidence of this investigation on the ground. This is the latest in a catalogue of DP-DHL’s failures to control its global operations. We are still open to meaningful discussions with the company but we expect them to take these allegations seriously and act promptly,” said Ingo Marowsky, Organising Globally Coordinator, ITF.
The case alleges that DP-DHL has adopted a deliberate strategy to limit unionisation in many countries including Turkey, Indonesia, Malawi, Vietnam, Colombia, Guatemala, Hong Kong and the USA. A commitment to human rights is central to the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises as is clear standards of conduct for industrial relations, including a respect for the right of workers to establish or join trade unions and the right to collective bargaining.
The General Secretary of the International Trade Union Federation (ITUC), Sharan Burrow said, “We want to see DP-DHL meet global labour standards. The evidence put forward in these allegations seems to point to an unacceptable shortfall across DP-DHL’s network.”
UNI and ITF examined corporate documents and investigative reports and have conducted extensive interviews to uncover the truth about the company’s working conditions and management practices. (See links to reports below)
UNI and ITF want a negotiated settlement with DP-DHL that will address these serious violations of the OECD Guidelines taking place throughout its operations. DP-DHL must markedly improve its due diligence monitoring and response and ensure its global workforce has the right to organise and the right to decent work free from intimidation.
Notes to the Editor
The OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises is a series of global standards “addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries” (which includes both Germany and Turkey). A commitment to human rights is central to the Guidelines as is clear standards of conduct for industrial relations, including a respect for the right of workers to establish or join trade unions and the right to collective bargaining.
For more information:
UNI Global Union, the global union federation for trade and service occupations, represents 2.5 million workers in the postal and logistics sector worldwide. The ITF represents transport unions with 4.6 million members globally. Both are members of the ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), which campaigns for the rights of workers in multinational companies.
For more information or interviews, please do not hesitate to contact:
UNI Global Union
Richard Elliott, UNI Global Union
+41 79 794 9709
+44 (0) 20 7940 9260
Tim Noonan, campaigns and communications director/ Communications department
+ 32 2 224 0210
Ingrid Helsingen Warner
+41 79 548 3880
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