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Yodel drivers to be balloted over strike action

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Written by: Emma Lunn
19/08/2021
Parcel delivery chaos looms for consumers after union GMB announced that it will open a strike ballot for Yodel lorry drivers next week.

The strike ballot opens on 25 August and closes on 15 September, meaning industrial action could take place during Yodel’s busiest period in the lead up to Christmas.

The union warned that strike action would mean the Yodel network would face a complete standstill.

It said the delivery firm was committing a “staggering act of corporate self-sabotage” by “picking a fight with drivers at a time of mass shortages”.

The delivery giant faces its LGV1 drivers walking out over pay and conditions if an agreement can’t be reached with workers.

GMB said the drivers are angry over several things including:

  • their work life balance
  • the fact agency workers are paid more than directly employed drivers
  • annual leave payments that remain outstanding
  • a failure to offer substantial pay enhancements to stem the tide of drivers leaving the business for better paid jobs elsewhere
  • a failure to honour contractual agreements around pay for holiday and sick leave

GMB says it has engaged in weeks of negotiations with Yodel and accused it of failing to act quickly enough to settle the drivers’ demands or engage with the union on discussions around pay.

The union warned last month that it planned to ballot members for strike action.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “In a truly staggering act of corporate self-sabotage, Yodel has picked a fight with its organised LGV1 drivers at exactly the moment they should be bending over backwards to make sure they are happy and stay with the business.

“GMB has tried for many months to settle this dispute. Time again drivers’ demands have fallen on deaf ears. Our members, who keep Yodel delivering parcels up and down the country, know their worth and they are prepared to stand firm until Yodel meet their reasonable demands.

“Revenue in Yodel is up, parcel deliveries are up, new customers are coming on board. Yet Yodel want to cause trouble with the very workers that make all of that possible – at a time when they are struggling to keep hold of drivers, let alone being able to recruit new ones. It’s ridiculous behaviour and Yodel needs to see sense before it’s too late.”

Earlier this month union Unite warned that the country could grind to a halt if the government doesn’t get a grip on lorry driver shortages.

The UK is already seeing gaps on supermarket shelves due to a shortage of HGV drivers, as well as the temporary closure of some restaurants due to supply shortages.

A Yodel spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by the GMB’s ballot plans having been proactive in conversations with the union for a number of weeks. We will continue to work with our union colleagues in good faith and are committed to further discussions to resolve any remaining matters.”

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