Fighting for employee rights is the height of fashion

As part of union action to highlight concerns, two models dressed in high fashion clothes crafted out of packaging materials parade outside the main entrance of Somerset House. Credit: Alastair Fyfe

The Communication Workers Union is helping to hold logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL to account. While the company paraded its wares at London Fashion Week today, unions challenged it over its ongoing abuse of employees’ rights.

 

DHL is a major sponsor of London Fashion Week and provides logistics for the high-profile annual event. However, its treatment of staff is less than glamorous, argues CWU, UNI Global Union and the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation), which are fighting for DHL workers’ rights.

 

CWU is deeply concerned over the way the company behaves in some of the countries in which it operates.   In Turkey, for example, DHL has sacked over 20 workers after they opted to join a trade union.   A case against the company is currently open with the German government.   In recent years DHL has used lie detectors against workers in Colombia, Panama and South Africa.   It has used agency workers in the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia and India to do the same work as permanent employees but with lower wages and no job security.   One of its companies was fined after using students, who thought they were travelling to the USA on a cultural exchange to staff a factory.

 

CWU General Secretary, Billy Hayes, commented: “DHL is a leading global post and logistics company and should be setting high standards in all it does. As a key sponsor of London Fashion Week it basks in the glamorous flashlights of catwalk fashion and celebrity beauty, yet the way it treats many of its staff is ugly. The company’s public image does not match the reality experienced by its workforce and we urge it to have a makeover to improve employee rights.”

 

Philip Jennings, UNI Global Union General Secretary stated: “An ethical and sustainable fashion industry must include all parts of the supply chain.   DHL as part of that supply chain, needs to clean up its act and respect workers rights in Turkey and around the world”.

 

Ingo Marowsky, ITF Global Head – Supply Chain and Logistics added:  “While DHL struts its stuff on the world fashion stage, we will be making sure the darker side of its operation is on parade too.”

 

 

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