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ITF investigates DP-DHL India allegations

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The ITF HQ's in London

The ITF HQ’s in London

An ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) official returns from India today after a fact-finding visit to investigate allegations made by Indian unions and workers – as well as in a report to be released today and a recent German TV programme – of serious injustices in the operations of logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL there.

The ITF and UNI Global Union work together to ensure that DP-DHL treats its workers fairly and with respect – wherever they are in the world (see www.dhlblog.org).

Ingo Marowsky, ITF global head – supply chain and logistics, leaves Delhi today following an urgent visit to meet with DHL India workers and politicians. His return will coincide with the release of a report by respected US academic John Logan of San Francisco State University and the University of California-Berkeley.

Professor Logan was commissioned by the ITF to make an independent investigation into multiple allegations of widespread mistreatment of staff at in DHL India. These included serious victimisation; punitive transfers of staff, moving them hundreds of miles away from their families and homes at almost no notice; and forced re-grading of personnel to try and prevent them joining a trade union. The title of his report leaves little doubt of what he found: Intimidation, misclassification and obstruction: DHL’s strategy to undermine labour rights in India. It is attached and can be read at www.itfglobal.org/en/resources/reports-publications/john-logan-report .

Similar concerns about Deutsche Post-DHL’s Indian operations were also aired in a recent report on German television. See www.zdf.de/zdfzoom/zdfzoom.zdf.de-36965554.html

Ingo Marowsky commented: “The widespread accusations of persistent victimisation are extremely serious and – in their effects on workers and their families – 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. I hope that his report and German television’s recent exposé will stir DP-DHL into action to address what is clearly going seriously – and publicly – wrong with its management in India.”

He continued: “DP-DHL claimed to have conducted a full review of what was happening in India last year – but only conducted random and anonymous investigation and repeatedly refused to confirm they had actually interviewed any of the workers who’d been victimised, or union representatives. That startling omission underlined the need for an outside investigation.”

Stephen DeMatteo, head of post & logistics at UNI Global Union, commented: “We are gravely concerned by the findings of Professor Logan’s report as well as those confirmed in the past week by our colleagues at the ITF. UNI is committed to work with ITF to resolve the issues in DHL’s Indian operations. UNI calls upon DHL to take action now to ensure workers’ rights are respected in India and everywhere DP-DHL does business.”

John Logan is professor and director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University, and visiting research fellow, Institute for Research on Labour and Employment, University of California-Berkeley. This is the executive summary of his report:

Extensive interviews with workers from DHL sites in four major Indian cities, plus trade union officials, scholars and labor experts, and backed up by documentation, have revealed the following:

• Local and national DHL India managers have threatened, intimidated and discriminated against pro-union workers.

• Management have used long distance punitive staff transfers to target union activists and threaten their colleagues

• DHL management has actively attempted to undermine existing unions.

• Management eliminated a union in Kolkata in 2004.

• It is now fighting efforts by couriers to join their union of choice.

• Since 2005-2006 it has deliberately attempted to convert couriers into hoax “managerial” level employees to try and stop them joining a union

• Management has pursued a legal strategy that is intended to tie this dispute up in the courts for years

• The company’s behavior is contrary to its behavior in its home country, and violates
international conventions and global labor standards


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