LONDON: The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) says there is evidence of "widespread mistreatment" of DHL staff in India.
A report commissioned by the ITF and authored by John Logan, a professor and director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University and visiting research fellow, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, University of California-Berkeley, claims the express company has victimized staff, conducted punitive transfers by moving them hundreds of miles away from their families and homes at almost no notice; and forced the re-grading of personnel to try and prevent them joining a trade union.
The news follows a similar event that culminated in 2014 after more than two years of struggle when Turkey's TUMTIS union won recognition for 1,600 DHL supply chain staff despite an allegedly confrontational company.
Commenting on the DHL India situation, Ingo Marowsky, ITF global head, supply chain and logistics said: "The widespread accusations of persistent victimization are extremely serious and heartrending. They are so grave that we asked Professor Logan to investigate. Sadly, he has found them to be well founded. This substantiates the testimonies I have heard this week in India, including that the company has taken out over 20 injunctions in an attempt to muzzle workers and their union."
In his report Logan says workers from DHL terminals in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai have been threatened, intimidated and discriminated against by local and national DHL India managers who are now "fighting efforts by couriers to join their union of choice".
Logan notes that the DHL India management has pursued a legal strategy that is intended to tie the labor dispute up in the courts and is contrary to Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) behavior in Germany where it employs 205,000 people – or 42 percent of its global workforce.
The news coincides with the release of the latest DPDHL corporate responsibility (CR) report accompanied by a press statement that declared in its first line: "Responsible business practice is the foundation for the long-term growth and success of Deutsche Post DHL Group." According to Christof Ehrhart, EVP Corporate Communications and Corporate Responsibility: "We connect people and make their lives easier."
From its CR report the company notes: "Our corporate culture is characterized by openness, trust and mutual respect. We want our employees, each and every one, to be able to tap their talents and potential in an environment decidedly free from prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping."
In the section entitled Co-workers and co-creators winning and developing talent DPDHL adds: "As an international company, our priority is to ensure that our high ethical standards are being met in all of the regions in which we operate. With our code of conduct and group policies, we make sure our executives and employees around the world are able to uphold and apply our standards. This includes our commitment to workers' rights and our constructive working relationships with employee representatives and labor unions."
Except, apparently, in India. Download the ITF report: john_logan_report_dhl_india.pdf