- The Guardian
- Issue #1984
Toll workers have secured job security protections and an industry-first fifteen per cent superannuation offer in an in-principle agreement which will be put to national union delegates on Friday. If endorsed, Toll workers will not take part in national strikes flagged for next week.
The offer includes enhanced job security protections including the same pay for outside hire as employees, limits on outsourcing, commitment to give employees first preference over all available work, and improvements to consultation and auditing rights to further protect employees from their work being contracted out.
The proposed agreement is a significant development following six months of negotiations and national strikes, with workers successfully fighting off attacks on existing conditions and pressuring Toll to abandon plans to bring in a b-grade workforce on thirty per cent less pay and fixed-term contracts.
At negotiation meetings with Linfox, StarTrack and FedEx, the TWU presented similar settlement proposals with job security provisions which provide guarantees for workers while allowing flexibility for companies.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine commended Toll workers for staying strong and fighting off some of the worst attacks on job security in the industry, then going on to lead the way in securing additional protections.
“This is a major victory for Toll workers and sets an important precedent for transport operators still denying reasonable job security protections for employees. This triumph is all the sweeter given the hard slog Toll workers have endured over the last couple of years battling mismanagement, cyber-attacks, a split of the company with half sold off during negotiations, and proposals to bring in an underclass of workers to undercut employees in their own yards.
“We implore StarTrack, FedEx, Linfox and BevChain to follow Toll’s lead and commit to the reasonable protections workers are seeking. As Christmas draws nearer and negotiations reach their sixth month, it’s time to end the attack on jobs and prevent the need for further industrial action,” he said.
TWU NSW/Qld Secretary and lead Toll negotiator Richard Olsen said it was good to see a positive result at the end of a bumpy road.
“It has been a long and difficult journey, but the finish line is in sight with Toll taking the lead. It is a testament to the strength and unity of TWU members that job security provisions were retrieved from Toll’s shredder and reinforced with extra protections. The future is looking far brighter at Toll and in later life, with an industry-first offer of fifteen per cent superannuation leading the way to dignity in retirement for frontline transport workers. The negotiating committee is pleased to have a decent offer to present to the membership who will, as always, have the final say,” he said.
A Senate inquiry into job security will take place today with the TWU and a StarTrack worker giving evidence this morning, followed by StarTrack, Toll and FedEx this afternoon.
The TWU is calling for the Federal Government to establish an independent body to set minimum binding standards which would eradicate the “Amazon Effect” of squeezing supply chains from the top while posing an existential threat to operators through exploitative competition like AmazonFlex.
“Workers are doing the hard yards of fixing an insecure work crisis in transport, but they are only able to provide band-aid solutions to protect their own jobs. This is an industry-wide emergency requiring Federal Government action. Scott Morrison must step in and regulate to tackle the root cause of deadly pressures which are crushing supply chains,” Kaine added.