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Policy raises questions about the fairness and reasonableness of DHL's working practices.

The daily workload of parcel deliverers is a much-discussed topic, but we rarely get it a look into the real challenges and pressures these workers face. Ronald Otto shares the story of his son, a parcel deliverer, who recently shed an illuminating light on DHL's operational practices.

According to Otto, DHL parcel deliverers are confronted with tight deadlines that hardly seem achievable. His son had to deliver 170 packages in a span of 8 hours on a working day, which equates to only about 2,82 minutes per package. This includes driving, ringing the bell, waiting and finding a place for the package. Despite DHL's delivery app calculating driving times, it appears that the time pressure imposed by scheduling is forcing delivery drivers to work through their breaks.

The story of Otto's son shows how a typical working day can go off the rails. He started his day half an hour later than planned and worked without any significant breaks until 19:30 PM, an hour and a half longer than his planned time. Despite this, he failed to deliver all the packages and had to return with 40 undelivered packages.

This resulted in a financial penalty for the delivery person. Although he worked 9,5 hours, he was only paid for 7,5 hours. DHL did not charge him for the half hour he started late and the additional 1,5 hours he worked because he did not complete his route within the allotted time. This policy raises questions about the fairness and reasonableness of DHL's employment practices.

Otto's son worked a day longer than his scheduled hours to deliver all the packages. Although he worked 9,5 hours, he was only paid for 7,5 hours. This is because he started half an hour late, which was deducted from his working time, and because he was not able to deliver all the packages within the set working time. DHL did not compensate him for the extra 1,5 hours he worked, effectively acting as a 'penalty' for not completing his route as planned.

Ronald Otto's story describes a form of fine system at DHL that functions in an indirect way. It is not a direct fine that is charged, but rather a method of calculating wages that can feel like a financial punishment for the delivery drivers.

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DHL delivery service

After hearing about the situation surrounding the workload and the treatment of his son, Ronald Otto had discussions with both the regional and HR manager of DHL. They indicated that they do not encourage driving behavior, such as speeding, and that there is a special telephone number for delivery drivers to report problems. However, despite these lines of communication, it seems that in practice problems like those of his son are not resolved effectively.

Moreover, DHL's planner in Ede does not seem to be open to feedback or adjustments. Complaints about the unreasonable workload are referred back to the same planner, leaving employees in a vicious circle with no prospect of improvement. Nevertheless, DHL indicates that it does not encourage reckless driving and that employees with complaints can call a special telephone number. However, in practice this does not always appear to lead to solutions.

It is interesting how DHL organizes the work routes. A delivery person should be assigned a designated area to improve efficiency and speed, but this is not always the case. The onboarding process also appears inadequate, which contributes to the challenges delivery drivers face.

Ronald Otto asks an important question: what if delivery drivers were given more time and space to carry out their work calmly and accurately? This could lead to fewer errors, less damage, longer lifespan of the vehicles, and above all, satisfied customers. Ronald Otto wonders what would happen if they let the delivery people work more calmly and accurately so that they do not make false “not at home” reports.


The “Unfortunately it didn't work” message that Ronald Otto mentions is used by DHL to inform recipients when a package cannot be delivered as planned. These types of messages are a standard procedure in the package delivery industry, intended to maintain communication between the delivery person and the package recipient when unforeseen circumstances prevent delivery.

In the case of Otto's son, this message is being sent because, despite extra efforts and working outside regular hours, he was unable to deliver all packages within his route on time. Otto's son's situation is a clear example of how the pressure to deliver quickly can lead to stress, unpaid hours and ultimately a less efficient service. This raises the question of whether current operating standards are in the best interests of employees and customers.

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