Frank Field Report Written Evidence

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Frank Field Report Written Evidence

#1

Post by xLc » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:22 pm

Written evidence from name Withheld (SGE0071)

My son is a self-employed owner driver for D PD. New working practices introduced by D P D called 'Precise' and 'Quantum' meant that today he has earned around £5. He has had to cover 3 rounds, drive many miles ( for which he has to pay diesel ) make a detour of 20 miles to deliver a ' precise ' parcel and he will be working from 6 am to 6 pm most of which is spent driving.
On another issue - the £130 charge - DPD do not employ couriers to cover absent drivers and written documentation exists that confirms that couriers are not to be employed


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Re: Frank Field Report Written Evidence

#2

Post by xLc » Mon May 01, 2017 7:52 am

Written evidence from Name withheld (SGE0073)



I am a retired teacher. My son works for DPD as an owner driver at a depot in the north of England. I work for him one day a week, and have done so for the past 7 years.

I have always believed DPD is run in an autocratic way, with managers who have no experience of the day to day running, and subsequent difficulties experienced by their drivers. It is ‘their way or no way’ – there is no consultation with the people who are meant to put practices into operation.

I do accept that the company needs to innovate to be competitive in a strong market, but this should be in cooperation with their staff, which then results in successful outcomes.

Some years ago, DPD introduced the hour slot timed delivery. This is a system where deliveries have an ETA of a nominated hour during the day. Drivers are under pressure not to fail these ETA’s which can result in speeding vans on the road, and hazardous manoeuvres being undertaken. Failure to meet these ETA’s can result in a ‘breach’ or being ‘stood down’ for a day, with consequent loss of earnings. Furthermore, the delivery process has become more complicated with drivers required to take photographs of doors if the customer is out, or of the location of parcels left on customer’s property (which I believe is a possible infringement of the law and could leave drivers open to accusation should the property owner suffer loss because of the photographic intrusion)

However, I accept that this can mitigate an accusation by an unscrupulous customer that the parcel has not been received.

Drivers problems have been exacerbated recently by the introduction of the ‘precise’ delivery where the customer specifies the exact time of delivery (1-hour slot). Drivers usually arrange their route in the most economical way, and for their customer’s preferences (those who prefer a prompt delivery etc.). This means that drivers must break off their delivery sequence to deliver a ‘precise’ which means extra diesel use and further pressure on the ETA system. The rate of pay is the same so in effect drivers are losing money. In a straw poll of customers, I have discovered that they appear to be unaware that they have ordered a ‘precise’ delivery as the software used when ordering appears not to give them a choice. I am unable to verify this.

A further initiative appears to be called ‘quantum’ whereby routes are to be split dependent on postcodes and that the route will be ordered by the company – the drivers will be unable to make any changes. The default timing for each stop will be increased which means that drivers will be out delivering for longer, which appears to be a DPD strategy that I cannot comprehend, as it means that some drivers will be working a 12-hour day.

I will not comment on the £120 per day cost to unwell drivers as the committee are aware of this issue.

At the depot where I work I see employees with stress levels that are unacceptable, from managers to supervisors to drivers, this is not conducive to safe working practices and personal health. As I said earlier, the problems emanate from higher up the management chain evidenced by dictatorial management styles. This could easily be remedied by honest and meaningful consultation with the owner drivers and a real understanding of their problems.

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Re: Frank Field Report Written Evidence

#3

Post by xLc » Mon May 01, 2017 7:52 am

Written evidence from Name withheld (SGE0076)

As a Franchisee currently engaged with DPD, I am submitting the following anonymously, for reasons which I'm sure the committee will understand. For the same reasons, I will only offer some general examples of the sort I have experienced.

Having worked as a courier with DPD for a number of months, it has become increasingly clear to me that DPD's Franchise model is primarily a means of shifting costs and liabilities from the company onto the workforce. Others have highlighted the £150 fine which DPD impose upon drivers who are unable to fulfil their duties through sickness, however this pattern of shifting costs and responsibilities is not limited to driver absences.

One example relates to Working Time Directives. DPD's processing volumes are variable at different times of the year. These volumes are wildly increased in the weeks before Christmas. DPD accepts no responsibility for ensuring that their couriers adhere to the Working Time Regulations, and their contracts place responsibility for this solely upon the driver. However, in my experience DPD will apply significant pressure to drivers to take out as many parcels as possible in busy periods - especially at Christmas. They push drivers to take out as many parcels as they can - whether or not it is possible for the driver to complete this workload in compliance with the Working Time Directive. Inevitably, drivers feel obliged to comply. Some drivers work 14 hours per day or more, 7 days a week. In my view DPD is quite content with these arrangements since it absolves them of any duty of care towards their workforce, and they are able to avoid the need for a large influx of seasonal staff.

Similarly, DPD takes no responsibility for accidents or injuries which occur in the course of their operation. Whilst DPD does provide manual handling training, consignments are not rigourously vetted for size and weight. I've witnessed drivers being told to deliver very large, heavy and unwieldy packages, despite complaining that the are unable to carry these items safely. As I understand the agreement, drivers who become injured during the course of their duties remain subject to the £150 daily fine if they cannot attend work as a consequence.

A final example is when consignments are damaged, or go missing. DPD's Franchisee Agreement places responsibility of carriage upon their drivers, and allows them to recover the cost of missing goods from the Franchisee - whether or not it can be proved that the driver is responsible for the missing goods. The effect of this is that any theft occuring in the warehouse is largely ignored by DPD. DPD simply invoices the last driver to scan the package, and recover their losses in this way.

I will look forward to reading the findings of the select committee.

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Re: Frank Field Report Written Evidence

#4

Post by xLc » Mon May 01, 2017 7:53 am

Written evidence from Name Withheld (SEG0081)

I am writing to you as requested as per recent telephone conversation regarding your investigation into the dpd self employed driver contracts.

I am a self employed owner driver with dpd at present and feel I should bring a few matters to your attention.

Obviously you are aware of the recent article in the daily mail where drivers are charged £150 per day if we are sick and unfit for work, may I emphasise on this matter and advise if we are lucky enough to provide courier cover for sickness and also our holiday cover that dpd actually take stops off our cover drivers to give to their own employed drivers so we still end up at a loss.

As we are paid per delivery our normal daily workload for example is 90 drops at £2 per parcel delivered (we dont get paid for undelivered items) so if we successfully deliver 85 stops = £170.

Providing cover is not cheap and ranges from £170-£200 per day, as I have stated what dpd do is take stops off our cover driver and only give them 60 stops for example if all are delivered thats £120 so we end up at least £50 per day out of pocket.

The second matter which you weren't aware of as per telephone conversation that on top of been charged when we are ill we are also charged when we fail to provide cover at dpd's request most recently mothering Sunday I was charged £150 for not providing a service.
We were only given 2 weeks notice that we had to provide cover and obviously people have things planned and different circumstances.

Their reasoning is that they have to pay external couriers to cover your route but this is not the case as they give your stops to another driver within the depot who is already working hence they are not out of pocket and are using this rule as a money making scheme.

For me personally I had 40 stops on my route (3 hours work) mothers day at £2 a stop = £80 why am I charged £150???? When as stated they were given to another dpd driver anyway who they paid instead of me so they made £150 from myself been charged alone.

I know there were 11 drivers charged in my depot so how many were charged nationwide?

This happens all the time and when we question we are hit with a brick wall "tough they are the rules" its very much a bullying mentality and without a union as we are not employed we have nowhere to go.

We have now also been told we have to provide cover EVERY bank holiday weekend or we will be charged.

Nowhere in the contract does is stipulate these days, the contract is so heavy in dpd's favour stating we have to provide service at dpd's request so basically we are at their beckon call.

How can this be deemed as self employed told when you have to work and charged if you dont????

This is purely a way of dpd evading paying sick/holiday pay NI and income tax and is been used as a way Of making revenue charging for not providing a service when they stipulate.

Apologies for the long winded email but I feel it needs bringing to your attention.

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Re: Frank Field Report Written Evidence

#5

Post by sillyhilly0 » Tue May 02, 2017 8:44 am

These comments are typical of every single parcel company who employs the services of self employed people to cover/deliver a regular round.
Every one of them does not pay enough to cover the true cost of the expenses the driver incurs, allowing them to afford to pay proper cover couriers so they can get holidays, or have time off when ill.
THIS IS MODERN DAY SLAVERY!

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Re: Frank Field Report Written Evidence

#6

Post by Go Bots » Mon May 08, 2017 8:32 pm

Totally agree. The whole industry is a gravy train for everyone involved. Apart that is, from the couriers.

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Re: Frank Field Report Written Evidence

#7

Post by redvanman1955 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:30 am

Now that the election is over,,will this investigation by the Commons Select Committee be concluded by Frank Field?

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