UPDATE: Majority of 150 South Yorkshire factory workers 'face losing jobs'

DHL base in Harworth.
DHL base in Harworth.

The majority of a workforce of 150 will lose their jobs when a South Yorkshire factory closes, a union has warned.

Unite said delivery service DHL Supply Chain is planning to close it's Harworth site and most of the 150 workers face losing their jobs.

Union members at the Harworth site and two other bases in nearby Tickhill are now staging strike action in protest at the move.

About 120 members of staff will start a rolling programme of strikes next week. Along with protesting at the planned site closure, Unite said union members are also unhappy about a pay offer of 1.25 per cent for the year starting June 2016.

The union is also angry because staff will be asked to travel 20 miles away at a site in Markham Vale - operated by Great Bear - as part of the planned closure where workers are paid £1 less.

Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said: "We want to resolve the dispute and protect as many jobs as possible by replacing agency workers with the permanent staff who face relocation to Markham Vale.

“For those that can’t undertake the new travelling distances, we want a guarantee of a generous redundancy package.

"This move is the result of DHL losing a contract and another company - Great Bear - refusing to give our members any reassurances about their futures."

She added: "Our members are not going to be pawns in some corporate cost-cutting exercise.

"These are hardworking employees and they deserve to be treated decently – and Unite with fight to that end.”

The workers voted by a majority of 78 per cent to strike for 24 hours on May 15; for three days on May 25; and for 11 days from June 1. All strikes will start at 10pm.

A spokesperson for DHL Supply Chain said the firm is "disappointed" by the strike action.

They added: "Regrettably, the planned closure of the Harworth site follows the customer’s decision to transfer the operation to a new provider.

"Throughout the process we have expressed our willingness to meet with Unite to discuss the situation and we have not only met, but exceeded, our legal obligations to our workforce under TUPE - Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations - who will now transfer to Great Bear. Under TUPE, colleagues transfer on their current terms and conditions including pay.

"This includes implementing a vacancy management process so that colleagues affected by the TUPE are prioritised for vacancies in the region where they wish to remain with DHL.

"Contingency plans are being prepared and every effort will be made to minimise any disruption to service. We continue to urge Unite to return to the negotiating table to resolve this matter at the earliest opportunity.”