Low wages – how parcel services exploit their employees

Low wages They believe in Germany and the rule of law

Image result for low wageIurie Popescu knows that. In the house in the Upper Palatinate, the gaunt, thin man only lived with 20 colleagues. Now they are ten. Iurie, who does not speak German, only, as he says, “DPD-German” (“Hello, please sign here, thank you, goodbye”), has his own room, for which he pays 200 euros rent. But on the wall is mold.

One and a half years ago he came to Germany. For him, as for his two colleagues, who sit next to him together with a German translator, Germany is a dreamland. They believe in Germany and the rule of law. They write their real names on a piece of paper because they are right, actually. But you do not want to publish and exactly locate the trio so as not to jeopardize your job. Verdi confirms this concern: The parcel service industry is increasingly working with employees from Eastern Europe. “They do not know their rights or do not ask them for fear of losing their jobs. Often the cost of housing is still deducted from the salary.”

Verdi wants parcel services to be liable for subcontractors

At DPD, 10,000 delivery staff are on the road for almost 1,000 subcontractors, and their own parcel deliverers are not in use. If these companies go below the minimum wage or violate other laws, the parcel service separates according to their own statements “consistently” from them. Hermes also relies on independent subcontractors who work with up to 14,000 deliveries at Christmas. The logistics company also says of itself: “We do not tolerate unlawful behavior of our partners.” That the minimum wage or more is paid, will be reviewed.

At Deutsche Post, which has a total of 19,000 parcel delivery agents, placing orders with subcontractors is the exception. This is “unlike our competitors in the low single-digit percentage range”. The deliverers who are employed there usually do not receive a collective wage. Unlike the post itself, where there are different classes of parcel carriers. Who was hired before 2001, earned according to Verdi still best, according to tariff course. For those who started in the years thereafter, another house tariff applies. According to Verdi, the hourly wage starts here at 12.21 euros and ends at 15.74 euros (plus holiday pay, Christmas bonus, variable compensation shares). However, anyone who has come to the post office as a parcel delivery agent in 2015 or later will be employed by the Post subsidiary DHL Delivery. It pays according to the regionally different tariffs of the forwarding and logistics industry. And those are partly well below the house rate of the post. In Lower Saxony, where negotiating new rates, is the pure hourly wage for entry at 10.65 euros, in contrast, at 18.45 euros in Württemberg. The higher the tariff level, the greater is the readiness of the Post “to look around for subcontractors,” says Verdi post expert Sigrun Rauch. “It’s a big nuisance for us.” It warns against a price dumping competition at the expense of the deliverer. Verdi hopes that the parcel services – as is already the case in the meat industry – have to follow their subcontractors, for example for the payment of social security contributions.

Hermes wants customers to rethink

Also, the Federal Association of parcel, express, logistics is for a “fair remuneration” of the courier. Only this understands something else than Verdi: To be able to continue to finance this remuneration “economically, we demand a sense of proportion when adjusting the statutory minimum wage,” it says in the association, in which Hermes, DPD or GLS member.

Hermes is also about more fundamental: The company complains about the “reaching zero shipping mentality” of the buyer. This would have helped that the prices in the parcel market “are in many parts inadequate”. The prices for the delivery of a package at the front door are also set in international comparison “at least 50 cents too low.The cost of individual delivery with up to four trips is significantly higher.” Hermes wants a rethinking of customers. “On the one hand, almost every customer is prepared to shell out ten euros or more for a parking ticket in the city center, but on the other hand, 3.89 euros for a parcel delivered from Norderney to the Zugspitze at Christmas time seem too expensive,” they say at the company.

Iurie Popescu is not interested in all that. Why he does the 14-hour day as a parcel courier in Germany? “In Romania,” he says, “everything is worse”.

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