Zero hours row escalates as delivery drivers sacked

Job woe: Simon Davies with his wife Kirsty and their son Luke (three)

Four delivery drivers have been sacked, after they refused to sign a controversial new contract.

Fifty workers at the City Link depot in Roman Way, Preston, had until Thursday to agree to a new deal, which eroded many of their terms and conditions, or face dismissal.

Simon Davies, 30, of Brookfield, Preston, is one of the drivers who has lost his job.The father-of-one said: “I was on holiday when my manager rang and asked if I was going to sign the contract. When I said no, he told me that I was dismissed, and that my paperwork would be posted. I feel devastated, because I’ve been there three years, but I couldn’t accept the contract.

“It would leave me not knowing what I was working or what I was going to end up being paid each month. It also wanted us to opt-out of the European working time directive of a maximum 48 hours a week, which is very dangerous for drivers.”

Another dismissed Preston driver, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m gutted, but I can’t agree to this – they’re forcing us out to save money.”

Although City Link deny that it is a ‘zero hours’ contract – a term meaning there are no set number of hours or times of work – a copy of the contact seen by the Evening Post states “the company may, at it’s complete discretion, require you to refrain from attending work”, as well implement changing shifts at short notice.

A spokesman for the RMT union, which represents City Link drivers, said: “These workers are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

“They know that if they sign the contract, they are effectively signing away their terms and conditions, and potentially losing around £4,000 a year, but if they don’t, they face being sacked. To all intents and purposes, it is a zero hours contract. They are trying to hammer the workforce into the ground.”

City Link declined to comment on the dismissals. Last week the company, which has recently been taken over by Better Capital from Rentokil in April, said that the new pay and conditions framework was designed to be fairer to all front line workers.

A spokesman for City Link denied the firm operated a zero hours policy and said the clause was included in contracts but the clause was there in case they have to suspend workers. She said: “We are not able to comment on individual cases in the press, but Scott Maynard (HR Director) will now follow up with the two specific individuals you have mentioned to understand their specific circumstances, ensure our own processes have been followed and make sure they have not been treated unfairly in any way.”

 Reposted from Lancashire Evening Post
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