The parcel delivery company DPD is threatening to take legal action against a trade union which represents couriers for its support of weekend strike action. The action aimed to maximise disruption by taking place over the Black Friday weekend and cause disruption to customers and the retail business just when shoppers were expected to spend billions of pounds online.
Many couriers working for parcel delivery firms are self-employed and therefore not entitled to holiday or sick pay or covered by the minimum wage regulations which are in place for employed workers. The action is in protest at pay cuts and working conditions and is set to be followed by similar strikes up and down the country.
Lawyers for DPD said the company would hold the union responsible for losses during one of the busiest weekends of the year if it carried out its threat of action.
High street stores struggling to compete with online shopping saw deserted shops and city centres over the weekend. Bargain hunters were keen to take advantage of the offers available and get their Christmas shopping done and dusted at the click of a button from the comfort of their own home.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become firm dates in the Christmas calendar, with many shoppers planning their purchases in advance. This year looks set to be yet another record breaker and will be followed closely by the January sales, which also target the online shopper. This is the busiest time of year for couriers. They often work long hours in treacherous weather delivering to consumers at all hours of the day and night.
Same day couriers such as http://allaboutfreight.co.uk/same-day-courier-service are busiest at this time of year, and workers are geared up for long days to ensure customers receive their parcels on time.
Couriers working for DPD deliver for high street stores, including John Lewis, and online giants such as Amazon and ASOS. They complained the union is interfering with business, and lawyers representing the firm argued the union was breaching its agreements and would ‘cause significant financial loss to the company’.
Like many businesses, the couriers have seen rates cut and hours increase and have no guarantee of work, which increases the pressure for drivers and their families.