Copenhagen-based group offers ‘a unilateral social plan to all head office employees in Basel affected by the announced redundancies’ after the parties were unable to reach ‘a mutually agreed social plan within the announced timeline’, following takeover of Swiss competitor in August.
DSV Panalpina has decided to offer “a voluntary and unilateral social plan” to up to 165 Panalpina head office employees in Basel that face redundancy following DSV’s takeover of its Swiss competitor Panalpina in August, after so far failing to reach agreement with the union representatives of the Basel-based staff.
Last month, the global transport and logistics company DSV revealed that it was set to cut around 50% of the current Panalpina head office workforce as the integration of Panalpina into the DSV Panalpina group progresses. Overlapping corporate functions and positions will either be cut or relocated to the headquarters in Denmark, with up to 165 job losses, the company announced, although it also intends to expand its logistical footprint in the Basel area.
In an update yesterday on the discussions with staff, the group said: “DSV Panalpina has decided to offer a voluntary and unilateral social plan to all Panalpina head office employees in Basel affected by the announced redundancies to take place in Q4-2019 and H1-2020. While both intent and hope were to arrive at a mutually agreed social plan within the announced timeline, unfortunately, the parties have not been able to reach an agreement, yet.
“During the last two weeks, however, negotiations have resulted in a better understanding of expectations on both sides, and, as a result, significant improvements have been made to DSV Panalpina’s original proposal.
“The company is still in dialogue with employee representatives and continues negotiations. If, ultimately, negotiations remain unsuccessful, the next step is arbitration, which means an additional long period of uncertainty.”
Outlining the offer it was making “to support the employees’ future”, DSV said: “Being a socially responsible employer, DSV Panalpina has decided to voluntarily implement the measures proposed in its latest offer to the employee representatives. It does not believe it is in the best interest of the employees to go through another long period of uncertainty – and without outplacement support.
“The company believes that any social plan should focus on helping redundant employees to find a new job as quickly as possible. For this reason, the proposed social plan focuses on career counselling and support with the aim of ensuring the continued foothold of employees in the labour market.”
It said the proposed initiative was being “facilitated through an external expert in the field” and included:
Individual career coaching sessions;
Career assessment workshop;
Expert workshops, including ‘CV-Factory’ or ‘Social Media’;
On-site career centre with weekly job postings and matchings;
Referral to key staffing companies and ad-hoc counselling.
“In addition, DSV Panalpina is prepared to grant severance payments and other benefits that support vulnerable employee groups and acknowledges loyalty to Panalpina,” DSV said. These included:
Severance payments of 2-6 months for eligible employees;
Financial support for early retirement (available from age 58);
Additional consideration in personal hardship cases;
Best effort to place redundant employees on garden leave.
DSV Panalpina said it had hosted a “townhall meeting” at the Panalpina head office on 18 November to present the voluntary social plan in detail to employees as well as answer any questions from the floor. It said the voluntary social plan “will not be released in its entirety as the company remains open to further negotiations”.
It stressed that the negotiations and related processes were in full compliance with Swiss labour law and are overseen by HR and legal professionals.