Last ditch talks to prevent industrial action by key Jaguar Land Rover supplier DHL have collapsed after a marathon seven months of negotiations.
Around 1,000 drivers, forklift truck operators and handling staff at Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood are now to press ahead with a ballot for action.
The pay dispute at the German-owned logistics group has been dragging on since last September, while in March workers rejected a ‘final’ pay offer of an extra 53p per hour by an overwhelming 97 per cent margin.
Action by DHL workers would threaten the delivery of tens of thousands of parts to Jaguar Land Rover’s factories at Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood across the group’s manufacturing sites.
An internal Unite union document to DHL workers says: “It is with disappointment that we report back to you that negotiations with your employer DHL have broken down due to their unwillingness to consider our pay claim in full.
“The meeting had been arranged following a rejection of the company offer by 97 per cent of those members that responded to the consultative ballot.
“The offer that was rejected had an increase of pay of 6.1 per cent plus some additional improvements in conditions of service.
“Unfortunately, the company is unwilling to offer any more money or to make any further improvements to conditions of service.
“The company was clear that they wished to maintain the inequalities of pay for workers at Castle Bromwich, in addition to under-rewarding Class 1 drivers and finally to make catch-back overtime compulsory.
“The process to ballot for industrial action will commence once all of the legal requirements have been met and we are seeking your full support.”
An internal DHL document said the “formal, final” offer represents 6.1 per cent to all elements of pay. “For those currently earning £8.63 per hour this means a new hourly rate of £9.16 per hour or £357.24 basic pay per week, based on a 39-hour week.”
DHL has declined to comment.