Members of the DeutschePost DHL European Works Council, meeting in Bonn, gave a “yellow card” to the DHL CEO, Frank Appel. The EWC had heard from Mr Appel that he would not agree to negotiating a Global Agreement on workers rights and union rights with the two Global Union Federations, UNI Global Union and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). These two Global Unions have for some time been seeking to negotiate an agreement with DeustchePost DHL that would see the company work with them to comprehensively respect workers rights globally.

At present the workers say the company is not fully respecting workers rights and is acting in an allegedly anti-union  way. Mr Appel, in response to  the demands of the EWC for negotiations to commence, said that he would not consider negotiating with UNI and the ITF.  Mr Appel claims that the company has a self proclaimed “DeutschePost DHL Social Charter” and has signed the UN Global Compact and that these actions are sufficient. UNI and ITF have already published a dossier of alleged workers rights abuses by the company that refute that claim and show the company is not fully respecting workers rights or human rights (The dossier is attached to this article). At the meeting with Mr Appel, the European workers representatives were asking that he recognise the company was failing to meet these standards and should immediately find ways to work with UNI, ITF and the EWC to develop a proper agreement that can be monitored and audited for compliance. UNI Head of Post & Logistics, Neil Anderson, who had addressed the European Workers Forum the previous day, said, “Our evidence is plain, despite the hollow promises by DeutschePost DHL that they respect ILO standards, their managers in many parts of the world clearly don’t and a proper mechanism needs to be put in place to ensure these supposed commitments by the company are not just hollow words.”

When Mr Appel refused to agree to this, the members of the European Works Council brandished yellow cards at him, with the message “respect workers rights”. Mr Appel has received thousands of these cards in the mail already from DHL workers who sent them to him as part of the UNI ITF week of action to highlight workers concerns with a  lack of respect for their rights by DHL.

The EWC in brandishing the card was showing Mr Appel that they think his explanation is unacceptable and that he should start respecting the wishes of DHL workers globally and to start negotiations with UNI and the ITF.