Reaction from the companies
GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL
A spokesperson for Grand Central said they did not accept that the comments about the hotel “in any way represent the experience of our valued colleagues. As seen across the wider hospitality industry, the hotel employs an appropriate level of permanent employees, on full and part-time contracts, supplemented by flexible team members as customer demand fluctuates across the year.
“This flexibility suits many of our colleagues with commitments such as childcare and education. To help with planning, two-week minimum staffing rotas are produced in advance where possible; so the chances are that shifts are added rather than cancelled.
“At all times, we treat colleagues with dignity and respect which is reflected in our high staff approval ratings.”
An Amazon spokesperson said the company “didn’t recognise the allegations as an accurate portrayal of activities in our buildings”.
It added: “Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace for thousands of people across the UK with competitive pay and benefits from day one. We have a focus on ensuring we provide a great environment for all our employees and Amazon was recently named by LinkedIn as the seventh most sought-after place to work in the UK and ranked first place in the US. Amazon also offers public tours of its fulfilment centres so customers can see first-hand what happens after they click ‘buy’ on Amazon by visiting uk.amazonfctours.com.
“As we are growing and constantly hiring more associates, it is strongly in our interests to retain people and no-one is ever dismissed without good reason. We completely support associates working for us and people are allowed to use the toilet whenever needed. We also have an exception process so that associates can alert us to times when they just cannot do overtime for valid personal reasons.
“On October 2, we announced we are introducing minimum wage increases to £10.50 for the London area and £9.50 for the rest of the UK and raising wages for every full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary UK employee at Amazon across the UK, so 37,000 people will see higher pay for them and their families from November 1. The net effect of this change and the new higher cash compensation is significantly more total compensation for employees, without any vesting requirements, and with more predictability. Any claims that this is not the case are simply not true.
“We respect the individual rights of associates to join a trade union. We have an opendoor policy that encourages associates to bring their comments, questions, suggestions or concerns directly to their management team. We firmly believe this direct connection is the most effective way to understand and respond to the needs of our workforce and we continue to run our business as usual while respecting all legal requirements related to trade unions.
“Amazon has a range of initiatives to support our people if they become ill at home or at work including on-site support. If someone is sick, we will have a conversation with them to understand their own individual circumstances and take into account any independent medical reports.”
A spokesperson said: “We don’t recognise this driver’s complaints, many of which are either outdated or inaccurate. We have implemented a great many changes in recent months to give drivers greater choice and flexibility and will continue to ensure the working conditions for our drivers are industry leading.
“DPD’s Owner Driver Franchisees (ODFs) are part of a genuine self-employed model that we have operated in the UK for the last 20 years. DPD’s ODF scheme has delivered huge benefits to thousands of drivers over the years. Overall, in 2017, our franchise drivers, who completed a full year, earned an average of more than £35,000 after costs.
“Earlier this year, DPD launched its new Driver Code – not as a result of the GMB’s action but following consultations with our depots and hundreds of drivers, which began in 2015. The Driver Code is aimed at further improving every aspect of their working relationship with the company, from the type of contract they choose to the van they drive.
“The new Code has been rolled out nationwide from July 2 and gives all DPD drivers the choice of three ways to contract with the company; being employed directly by DPD, being a self-employed Owner Driver Franchisee (ODF) or becoming an Owner Driver Worker.
“The new Owner Driver Worker contract is designed to generate driver earnings of £28,800 per annum on average, based on a standard five-day week contract, with no upper cap on earnings. In addition, workers will receive 28 days paid holiday, a pension and sick pay.
“DPD scrapped the £150 charge for medical appointments in February and abolished it completely in July. It has been replaced with a clear and consistent points-based system, which includes a full review process before any points are allocated. There have not been any instances of ODFs having service failures as a result of dirty vehicles.
“DPD regularly reviews driving hours and has seen no evidence to suggest drivers are working longer than legally allowed. DPD takes any accusation of bullying in the workforce very seriously indeed and any specific allegations will always be investigated thoroughly by DPD.”