Asos, Etsy and Argos online customers could soon be hit by major delivery delays as Yodel and DHL delivery drivers prepare to launch strike action.
DHL, which handles deliveries for Ryman, Safestore, WHSmith and Robert Dyas, as well as Yodel which handles deliveries for AO, Argos, Asos, JD, John Lewis and plenty more, are both in the process of voting on upcoming industrial action.
In a poll of 200 DHL delivery drivers, who are represented by workers union Unite, 98 per cent voted in favour of industrial action.
It is understood the action is in response to a proposed one per cent pay rise, with drivers who have seen their work loads dramatically ramped up during the ongoing driver shortage crisis demanding more compensation for their extra efforts.
Meanwhile Yodel delivery drivers, who are represented by the GMB workers union, are also holding a ballot of 250 members on whether to launch similar strike action.
Again, the issue is over proposed pay increases, with Yodel failing to reach an agreement with its members.
“Yodel has seen fit to pick a fight with its loyal workforce in the midst of a chronic, nationwide driver shortage,” GMB union’s national secretary, Andy Prendergast, said.
“Yodel has consistently ignored the agreements they have with their drivers. Instead of antagonising them Yodel should be moving heaven and earth to keep them on side.”
Unite regional officer Phil Silkstone added: “National HGV driver shortages are all over the news, so how DHL thought it was going to get away with an insulting offer of a 1 per cent pay rise is beyond me.
“Our members have signalled that they are willing to take strike action and we will now be moving to opening a formal industrial action ballot.”
In response to the proposed action, a Yodel spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by the GMB’s ballot plans having been proactive in conversations with the union for a number of weeks.
“We will continue to work with our union colleagues in good faith and are committed to further discussions to resolve any remaining matters.”
A DHL spokesperson added: “We are disappointed that Unite is referencing the possibility of future industrial action at our Dartford depot. Further pay talks are scheduled, where we are confident of reaching a satisfactory outcome for both parties.”
It comes as retail and supply chain leaders warn the driver shortage crisis could lead to empty shelves at Christmas, with preparations already falling behind due to a lack of drivers.
The UK is facing a shortfall of around 100,000 drivers, and an increasing number of retailers are dealing with supply shortages, most recently seeing McDonald’s forced to pull milkshakes from its menu across the UK.
Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-operative Group, warned that current food shortages are at a “worse level” than he has ever seen, with the company having to reduce product range to help serve customers.
“The shortages are at a worse level than at any time I have seen,” Murells told The Times.