On the Picket Line

Liverpool DHL workers strike against low wages, harassment

By Pete Clifford
January 18, 2021

LIVERPOOL, England — With four days of effective strike action in December, 120 DHL warehouse distribution workers and drivers here are having an impact. They are determined to win a pay raise and push back company harassment and victimizations.

On Dec. 21, the third day of strike action, workers lined their cars up on the main road leading from the distribution depot, delaying trucks leaving it for hours. Workers have been speaking to truck drivers, urging them to turn their trucks around. Company complaints have led to police interference. Unite union organizer Kenny Rowe told this Militant  worker-correspondent he was threatened with arrest, saying they face a “strong arm” reaction from the cops.

DHL here services the Buston Biscuits and AB World Foods warehouses, which supply supermarkets.

“This is an incredibly profitable contract,” Rowe told the media. “DHL have to stop dodging its responsibility to pay a decent rate.”

The strikers are seeking to broaden support for their fight. “We had a delegation to meet DHL workers at the nearby Jaguar car plant, seeking their support. We got a good reception,” striker Gerard Taylor said. The strikers got a “Stay strong” message of solidarity from Mark Porter, the union convener for striking Rolls-Royce jet engine workers fighting job cuts at the Barnoldswick plant in Lancashire.

DHL bosses offered the workers an insulting pay raise, which would take them to just 2 1/2 pence (3 1/2 cents) above the government-set minimum wage. At the same time, several pickets said the bosses are demanding forklift drivers work faster, demanding they meet a target of 20 lifts per hour.

“Workers here can’t take any more,” Rowe said.