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T&G; uncover doctoring of drivers' timesheets by DHL Exel PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 November 2006

Union officials have discovered that drivers' timesheets at distribution firm DHL Exel in Redditch have been deliberately changed by managers without the drivers' knowledge.

The Transport and General Workers Union said the changes were made in red ink by local managers to show the drivers as being on a "Period of Availability" instead of driving. This would mean those hours would not then count towards the calculation of working hours under the Working Time Directive which has serious implications.

The unauthorised changes were first uncovered in August this year when one driver checked his timesheet after the company said he needed to complete extra driving hours to fulfil his contract. The T&G raised the issue with DHL Exel through a grievance procedure. It was during that process in September that the company admitted the timesheet had been doctored, blaming it on a management mistake. DHL told the union it was an isolated incident.

Since then the T&G has uncovered a total of eight drivers, out of the forty on the contract, whose timesheets have been altered to show them being on periods of availability rather than the drivers' declarations. DHL Exel has also acknowledged that those changes took place.

The union stressed that it is only drivers who can complete the timesheets to detail the periods of availability. It is through this that the driver knows what driving hours they can and should be undertaking under the terms of the Working Time Directive.

"DHL Exel in Redditch has acknowledged that managers changed drivers' timesheets without informing the individuals concerned," said Bob Shaw, T&G regional industrial organiser. "But the worry is the admission had to be dragged out of them and there were more instances than they first acknowledged. Not only is there a potential safety issue for our drivers if their timesheets are being doctored, but there are issues around whether or not they and the company would be properly covered in the event of any accident. There's more to this than meets the eye."

The T&G's national secretary for transport Ron Webb said he was astonished that a reputable company was behaving in such a manner. He stressed that there had been a number of anecdotal reports of drivers feeling unhappy with the way the working time directive was being practically implemented and that the matter would now be investigated by union officers and local representatives up and down the UK

"The question that must be asked is how widespread is this falsification by employers," he added. "Are we dealing with one rogue manager on one contract or are other employers fiddling the hours behind our drivers' backs? These are very serious issues for the industry and employers can take this as a warning that we are not going to let them get away with manipulation and exploitation."

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