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DHL says sorry after banning striking worker from London Marathon

Logistics giant DHL has apologised to one of its workers – after banning him from this weekend’s London Marathon. Michael Dallard – who works at East Midlands Airport – was told by his employer that his place would be given to a colleague more ‘committed to the success’ of the company after he took part in strike action.

The 48-year-old, who has worked for the logistics firm for almost 24 years, said the situation had left him ‘angry and upset’. DHL Aviation has since apologised to Mr Dallard and said the matter is being addressed internally.

Representatives from Unite the Union, which has been leading industrial action over pay since February, said the company’s action was part of a series of targeted actions against striking workers.

Mr Dallard won a place on the London Marathon through his employers in December and had been training ever since.

But an email later told him: “You have now, for some time, been taking part in industrial action to the detriment of our business. Whilst we understand and respect your right to participate in industrial action, we want to ensure the London Marathon places are taken by those who have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to the success of our business over the previous 12 months. Therefore, we have taken the decision to award your place to another colleague.”

Mr Dallard said: “I felt quite angry and upset about it. I was in disbelief and passed it onto the union reps. It makes it personal. It’s most runners’ dreams to run in the capital city of the country and it gets taken away just like that for doing something you’re allowed to do. It’s not a bad company, it’s just this situation.”

Melanie Todner, regional officer for the East Midlands at Unite, said the “damage has unfortunately already been done” despite the apology from DHL. She claimed the company had been treating many of its 180 striking staff unfairly, through actions such as disciplinary meetings, suspensions and harassment.

She said: “We only choose strike action as a last resort but when we do it unfortunately has an impact on the business and managers don’t always react in the way they should. “It’s had the opposite effect, it’s strengthened their commitment to remain on the picket.”

A spokesperson for DHL Aviation said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to Michael for his experience and how this was handled. This matter has been discussed with the union and is being addressed internally. In regard to concerns raised around unfair practices concerning dismissal and suspension, we would like to confirm that all cases in the business are reviewed fairly and actioned in line with HR policy.”

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