case you thought that ‘Contract Labour’ was an issue specific to India, here is
what I read in the latest post on the proposed strike of DHL in UK Jaguar Land Rover.
Unite trade union, Britain’s largest, has demanded a 12.8 percent rise over two
years for the workers who receive and sort vehicle parts and bring them to the
production line as part of DHL’s “just in time” operation. Unite also demands a
20.6 percent rise over two years for drivers as part of the wage claim. DHL is
offering just a 4.5 percent pay rise in the first 12 months, starting from
January this year, plus a 3 percent inflation increase next year.
DHL insists that its employees are logistics staff and
should be on separate wage scales, relevant to the logistics industry, and not
be paid the same as workers directly employed by JLR. This is supported by JLR.
The Solihull plant produces the Land Rover and Range Rover
vehicles. Castle Bromwich manufactures Jaguar cars and will produce the new
Jaguar F model, launched this week. The Halewood plant produces the flagship
Evoque model and the Freelander SUV.
Strike action by the DHL workers would bring operations to a
halt, particularly the critical 24 hour a day, three-shift system at the
Halewood plant on Merseyside.” …….
"Employees at two other companies, Staffline and NAC, are
also being balloted by Unite on the wage proposal. Both Staffline and NAC are
labour agency companies.
No statement on the vote has appeared on Unite’s website. In
the face of large majorities in favour of action, its silence is deafening. The
union has made no appeal to its members on the JLR assembly lines to support
their DHL co-workers. Unite’s decision to separate the balloting of its members
connected to the JLR plants, holding them on different dates, is to ensure that
no coordinated industrial action takes place. Even if a strike is authorised,
no action can begin until well into August.
That Unite members are employed on different pay scales in
the first place is entirely the responsibility of the union. Over the last
years Unite has worked intimately with management at JRL and throughout the car
industry. As a result, unprecedented productivity increases, labour flexibility
and divisions in the pay of workers have been pioneered.
Last year, Unite and JLR management agreed to a pay deal,
retaining the divisions in pay between contract workers and permanent staff. In
2010 Unite agreed that JLR could hire agency workers at 80 percent pay for a
year, before starting as permanent staff on 90 percent pay. Commenting on the
agreement the Financial Times said, “JLR’s managers have
described the measures as essential to its ability to make cars competitively
in the UK.”
Last year’s agreement, which took effect on November 1, was
described by Unite as an “investment and sourcing agreement” that “will
guarantee the operation of all UK plants until at least 2022.”
Labels: Contract Labour, Jaguar Land Rover