Parties return to table in last-ditch bid to avoid strikes


The Transport Workers Union will put forward settlement propositions to major transport operators in negotiation meetings today and tomorrow in an effort to prevent the need for national industrial action next week.

Meetings are taking place today with Toll and BevChain, while StarTrack, FedEx and Linfox meetings will be held tomorrow. Toll Global Express talks will take place on Thursday, with a protected action ballot due to open a week later.

Transport workers will present adjustments to key job security claims allowing more flexibility for transport operators while locking in guarantees for workers’ futures.

The union said that alhough each company is different, this includes moving progressively towards agreed caps on outside hire through the life of the agreement, more flexibility in the allocation of work and implementing robust consultation provisions and auditing rights to provide workers more certainty over the contracting out of work.

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said workers are doing their best to find a fair balance which avoids mass disruption while securing protections over their jobs.

“Now is not the time for transport operators to hold workers and our communities to ransom by denying the key guarantees workers have no choice but to fight for. For over 18 months, workers have acted responsibly and they’re doing so again this week by offering a very reasonable solution,” said Kaine.

“This battle cannot drag on into Christmas, we need certainty so that transport workers can do their important work without the immeasurable stress of attacks on their jobs and intimidation tactics from their managers. All it will take to prevent the need for industrial action is companies to sign onto this mutually beneficial agreement.”

Meanwhile, a parliamentary inquiry into job security continues tomorrow with the TWU and a StarTrack worker giving evidence in the morning followed by StarTrack, Toll and FedEx appearing before the committee later in the day.

Submissions to the inquiry close on November 1.

The union is calling for the federal government to establish an independent body to set minimum binding standards.

“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,” added Kaine.

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