Health and Safety fears at Yodel couriers in Northern Ireland

Removal of the scheme has serious health & safety implications, as there is an increased risk of cross contamination of Covid-19

28 May 2020

ONE of the largest courier firms in the UK are putting staff at deadly risk by imposing changes on their drivers across Northern Ireland.

The GMB union has slammed the decision to force through a plan, removing the right of staff to take the vans home after work. They argue that the timing couldn’t be worse as people attempt to come to terms with the deadly pandemic, which has so far caused over 50,000 deaths in the UK.

Peter Macklin GMB trade union Officer said: “Removal of the scheme will have a detrimental impact on our members, as it will heavily impact on their ability to attend their job, as many of them live considerable distances from their respective depots;

“They have chosen to remove the scheme in the middle of a global pandemic, which further impacts on our members’ ability to travel, due to a heavily reduced public transport system.”

He claimed that the removal of the scheme has serious health & safety implications, as there is an increased risk of cross contamination of Covid-19, as drivers can’t be guaranteed that they will have access to the same vehicle at all times, or that the vehicles have been adequately sanitised.

“The fear of the impact on our members’ health and working lives is causing considerable stress and anxiety” Mr Macklin added.

Yodel are owned by the multi-billionaire Barclay brothers who own and live on Brecqhou an island in the Channel Islands.

GMB union points out,

  • Yodel removed the ‘van at home scheme’ in England more than 10 years ago, but drivers in Northern Ireland retained the right to avail of the scheme;

  • Yodel initiated a consultation process last year to remove the scheme in Northern Ireland, but never engaged in meaningful discussions.

  • They have announced that the scheme will be removed on 3 June 2020, and have made it clear that they will not consider contract buy outs or financial assistance;

  • The company have not put forward a business or operational rationale to remove the scheme;

  • We believe that the scheme is a contractual right, due to an express term in a Yodel policy, and the fact that it has been in force for a prolonged period of time (30+ years), implying a term through custom and practice;

  • The GMB union believes that the health, safety and well being of our members is paramount, and we are prepared to work strenuously to explore every avenue possible to accommodate a mutually beneficial compromise to this unfortunate impasse.

GMB North West & Irish Region