Almost 100 delivery drivers walked out of a distribution centre yesterday in a row over working hours.
Self-employed couriers at DPD, in Newbridge, are set to meet with bosses this morning after being told they must work six days a week instead of five.
The outraged workers are hoping to express their concern about their new working conditions after the hour-long protest in the centre’s car park – while bosses were in Birmingham.
The drivers went back to work just after 8.30am, when management agreed to hear their grievances.
One of the 93 drivers who participated in the protest said the morale among employees was very low.
He said: “Morale is absolutely terrible. It’s the worst I’ve known it in the three years I’ve worked here.”
Self-employed drivers at DPD are also angry at being “fined” £150 for missing a day when they are sick, and only having ten days of holiday per year – which they have to take in two blocks.
The driver added: “You’ve got drivers coming in with the flu and colds when they’d be off sick in other jobs.
“One of the drivers has worked here for seven years and he took a day off ill at the beginning of the year. He was fined £150.
“If we’ve got a hospital appointment or something, we have to take five days’ holiday – it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Another driver, who also did not wish to be named, said: “Everything is just a disaster at the moment.
“It’s a case of either do what they say or leave. I don’t want to work six days a week, and we can never have a fortnight’s family holiday.”
DPD uses about 5000 couriers in the UK, many of whom are self-employed and are only paid when they work.
The company deliver parcels for companies including Marks & Spencer, River Island, John Lewis and Amazon.
The German express parcel delivery firm made more than £106 million profit in 2015 on its UK operations.
Last week, taxi firm Uber was granted the right to appeal against an employment tribunal ruling that its drivers were not self-employed, but were workers. If upheld, it will mean Uber must pay the minimum wage, sick pay and holiday pay.
No-one at DPD was available for comment.