Logistics giant Wincanton has frozen pay for all 20,000 UK employees, despite unveiling a pre-tax profit of £41.3m.
In a letter to employees leaked to Personnel Today’s sister magazine Motor Transport, the company said: “The downturn in the economy has affected everybody; this includes Wincanton and our customers. Given the tough economic situation, we have made the difficult decision to freeze pay for all our employees in 2009.”
However, the letter promised to re-examine the situation in January 2010 in the hope of seeing an upturn to justify an interim pay review for drivers.
The company has taken the drastic step of cutting hourly rates for drivers by 10% for the next six months. The letter added: “To protect jobs during this time, and to secure all employees’ long-term employment, from 1 July 2009, the company is intending to reduce all drivers’ hourly rates of pay by 10%.”
The letter said the decision was a “last resort” and stressed that it had “not been taken lightly”.
The firm promised that after six months, salaries would return to their previous level and, should economic conditions permit, drivers would be considered for a “one-off performance-related payment”.
Wincanton told Motor Transport that no decision had been made on the salary freeze or cut for drivers and added that it is currently in consultation with its staff.
Rival DHL has already implemented a pay freeze for staff this year.