The restaurant chain had recently switched distributor from Bidvest to DHL. GMB said that, as well as causing the redundancies of 255 workers and the closure of the Hoddesdon Bidvest depot, it had led to chaos for KFC.
KFC was left without stock over the weekend, leading to shop closures, a reduction in menus and a shortening of opening hours. KFC has set up a page on its website informing customers of what shops are open throughout the UK.
GMB said it had warned KFC that Bidvest had a network of distribution centres across the UK, but that DHL was operating out of just one.
In a statement, GMB national officer Mick Rix said: “We tried to warn KFC this decision would have consequences – well now the chickens are coming home to roost.
“Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them.
“It’s an absolute cock-up. KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed, while DHL try to run the whole operation out of one distribution centre – where conditions are in utter shambles.”
Rix added that KFC was aware of the difficulties before they affected the shops, but couldn’t do anything about it.
“Three weeks ago KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late,” he said. “KFC’s bird-brained decision has caused untold misery to customers, to Bidvest workers and restaurant staff who are not being paid. Now they’ve been left with egg on their face.”
A DHL spokesman said: “Due to operational issues, a number of deliveries in recent days have been incomplete or delayed. We are working with our partners KFC and QSL to rectify the situation as a priority and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”