Drivers enraged as Belfast firm slashes their pay by 7.5%
Drivers working for a Belfast delivery firm have reacted with anger after the company revealed it was cutting their pay by 7.5%.
DX Network Services - which employs around 30 subcontracted drivers in Belfast - said it was reducing payments after coming under pressure from customers to cut costs in light of cheaper fuel.
It claims as the result of lower fuel prices at the beginning of this year, the company has "come under extreme pressure" from customers who haven't seen cuts to their delivery charges.
And the company claims the action is being introduced to "rebalance the benefit that subcontractors and owner drivers have enjoyed during the period when fuel prices have reduced".
It says the pay cut will last for three months.
Delivery drivers were told last week it would take effect on April 6, and run until June 27.
It's understood at least one driver has already left the company following the announcement. Another told the Belfast Telegraph: "It's ridiculous. It's going to impact on everyone - you can't just go to your bank and say, I'm earning less."
"When they told us about the cut, it was like the fall of Rome that day - there was chaos among drivers."
"There was anger and shouting among staff - every single person in outraged.
"I think it's ridiculous - they are a big company, and this is next to nothing for them."
DX Network Services in Belfast is part of a much larger UK-wide transport group.
It deals in a number of big courier contracts, including the Passport Office.
According to one courier, drivers working for the firm are essentially self-employed, and are responsible for their own fuel, vehicle and insurance costs.
"This cut is taking any disposable money off you - once you take out fuel, your van and paying the mortgage, there's not that much left at the end of the day," the driver said.
A spokesman for DX said the "decision to reduce our subcontractors' and owner/drivers' route fees for a three-month period was not taken lightly".
"This is as a result of reductions which have already been given to customers over the last few months due to the lower fuel prices," he said.
"We appreciate the co-operation of our subcontractors and drivers - many of whom have been with us for over 10 years - in helping DX to maintain a competitive position in a very tough market currently.
"We highly value our drivers and subcontractors and would emphasise that this is a temporary measure and just one of a number of initiatives across the group to best position the business for the long-term benefit of all."