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DPD gives drivers more choice in working conditions

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DPD is offering its drivers the option of a new worker contract that will include pension, paid holiday and sick pay as it looks to become the first-choice employer for workers in the delivery industry.

Drivers for the delivery company will now be able to choose between employed, self-employed worker or franchisee status, earning, as a minimum the real living wage. 

The new approach comes after out of a DPD strategic review that consulted drivers and leading figures in the Labour movement following the death of Dorset DPD driver Don Lane earlier this year. Lane is reported to have skipped hospital appointments after being fined £150 for missing a DPD shift. He later died from diabetes.

Now DPD has come up with a new Driver Code that it says will make it the first-choice employer for delivery workers. DPD says salaries, based on a five-day week contract and with no upper limit on earnings, will be equivalent to an average of £28,800 a year. Drivers will also have 28 days paid holiday, pension and sick pay, and will be able to try life as an employed delivery driver before being able to opt to become self-employed. DPD is also removing the breach system for self-employed drivers, replacing it with a Service Failure System to monitor contract performance. 

Dwain McDonald, chief executive of DPD, said: “The Driver Code represents a complete reappraisal of every aspect of our driver package. Our aim is simple – to make DPD the carrier of choice for delivery drivers and for our drivers to be the best rewarded in the industry. The feedback we’ve already had from the depots suggests we are on the right track.”

He added: “I think the new worker contract is a great package and it will set the benchmark in our industry. But we’ve made it very clear that we think it should be about driver choice – there are three great ways to contract with DPD now and drivers are free to choose which one suits them best.

“Loads of our drivers tell us they still love the self-employed franchisee model because of the flexibility and the capacity to earn significantly more. While we’ve been able to improve this contract further as part of this review, we recognise that it isn’t for everyone.”

Our view: This move from DPD is a shrewd one as well as a human one. It gives its drivers more control over the way that they’re employed at a time when DPD is looking to take on more staff. As online retailing expands, with its drive towards faster and more convenient deliveries, there will be ever increasing demand for drivers at a time when the industry is already seeing shortages. This move from DPD may well make it a recruiter of choice – and could mean improvements in driver conditions across the industry as a result. The end result is likely to be higher costs: will customers pay more or will they be absorbed by retailers, or indeed by the delivery companies themselves? We’ll be looking out for the answers, which are likely to come on a case-by-case basis.

Image courtesy of DPD.

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