WAREHOUSE workers at DHL Services in west Thurrock, have voted to strike over fears of deterioration in employment conditions when they are transferred to a new company next month.

The 51 workers, members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, have voted unanimously for the 24-hour strike action, starting at 00.01, 5 June, as they face poorer working conditions when the contract is taken over by NFT Distribution on 6 June.

The dispute comes over no union recognition with NFT Distribution, different shift patterns, increased travelling time to the new Tilbury site eight miles away, poorer pension provisions, and failure to guarantee pay, terms and conditions for the rest of the contract.

Unite regional officer Mary Hackwood said: “Our members, who are predominately warehouse operatives, have voted by 100 per cent to strike for 24 hours on Wednesday, June 5, as they face the prospect of a serious and permanent erosion of their pay and working conditions.

“Unite believes that that a vicious cost-cutting agenda is at play here.

“Strike action is set for June 5 and if this happens it will mean disruption to supplies for the current customer Upfield, a leading producer of plant-based spreads.

“However, there is a still time for the managements at DHL and NFT to get around the table with Unite to enter into meaningful negotiations to retain the present employment conditions that our members enjoy.”

A spokesman for DHL Supply chain responded: “We are disappointed that Unite the Union has announced its intention to hold a day of strike action at the Thurrock site on Wednesday, June 5.

“Further talks are scheduled to reach a satisfactory outcome for both parties, but contingency plans are in place and every effort will be made to minimise disruption to customer deliveries should the strike action go ahead.”