DHL Bahrain under pressure from union: UPDATE

Express giant responds to workers' concerns.
DHL Express has indicated that has taken its employees concerns into account when deciding its new shift schedule.
DHL Express has indicated that has taken its employees concerns into account when deciding its new shift schedule.

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A senior executive from DHL Bahrain has responded to a number of issues raised by local employees concerning work schedules and reported unfair payment practices.

"There is no avoiding the fact that peak work hours for the hub facility are between 1400 and 0200, that it is a 24/7 operation and that staff need to be available when the operation requires. The proposals have taken into account making time for those we support at study and there is also flexibility in choosing to work fixed or rotating schedules depending on individual family priorities," said Bill Todd, general manager, Bahrain Hub, DHL Express, speaking to LogisticsMiddleEast.com.

"There is acceptance of the need to change by the majority of staff and happily there are many members of staff who are interested in concrete discussions and who have been very helpful in reshaping their department," Todd added.

The DHL executive confirmed that the sort department - the only one to have been affected by these changes - has two shifts, with the major point of the new changes being to move most of the day shift to an afternoon/evening schedule, while the night shift will start and finish earlier. Todd stated that the midnight to 4am shift would be covered by those workers who had chosen the hours.

With regard to concerns raised about a reported disparity in pay, Todd was unequivocal in his response: "Contracts are specific to grade, not nationality. Positions are graded, not individuals. There is no difference in the salary or bonus arrangements between staff on the same grade."

Todd added that the consultation process for the introduction of the new schedule was not finite and that it would "very much be a work in progress", taking into account DHL Bahrain's two priorities: the need to run a successful business and the need to give due consideration to all members of its staff.

In addition, Todd stated that employees at the hub were 95% Bahraini, and that DHL had consistently supported a wide range of measures to employ a large number of local staff.

"The company’s commitment to Bahrain remains strong and it is important to note that it is operational improvement projects such as this which enable DHL to continue offering employment to such a large number of people, despite a challenging business environment. As the only company to win two awards from the Ministry of Labour in 2007 for its exemplary efforts in the area of Bahrainisation, DHL Express is proud of and keenly committed to its Bahraini work force," Todd concluded.

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