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Toll calls union back to negotiating table to ‘do the right thing’

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Toll is disappointed the Transport Workers’ Union has delayed returning to the negotiating table in favour of “posturing in the media and spreading misinformation about the company”.

In a statement last week, the union said it had written to Toll Group Australia managing director Thomas Knudsen to investigate ‘reports’ that management will be receiving up to 100 per cent bonuses while attempting to downgrade jobs, pay and conditions of Toll workers.

The TWU said Toll has refused any pay increase for its workforce to cover the 2020 period of extreme demand, substituting it with a $750 one off payment inclusive of superannuation.

But a Toll spokesperson told Big Rigs today that its offer of a pay increase and a sign-on bonus is above CPI and ensures Toll employees remain some of the most well-paid transport workers in the country, with the highest superannuation guarantee (14.75 per cent) in the industry.

“The TWU says that it wants to raise standards throughout the industry, but is instead taking pot shots at Toll, whose pay and conditions are at the top of our sector,” said the spokesperson.

“Meanwhile, we have seen a steady increase in the gap between Toll wages and conditions and that of our competitors, allowing them to undercut and win work from us, resulting in less job security for our employees.”

The spokesperson also added that Toll flatly rejects the union’s insinuations about bonuses paid to salaried employees.

“The figures they are bandying about are complete nonsense,” they said.

“The truth of the matter is that, while there is an incentive programme in place for some employees, our salaried staff took pay cuts of up to 30 per cent last financial year during Covid.

The Toll spokesperson said it is unfortunate the union is making workers’ jobs less secure by threatening industrial action and seeking to undermine Toll.

“If they really cared about the job security of Toll employees they would do the right thing, come back to the negotiating table, and agree on a fair and equitable deal for both our employees and the company.”

Last week TWU members lodged a Protected Action Ballot with the Fair Work Commission, which will see around 7000 workers vote on taking industrial action in the coming weeks.

The TWU believes Toll’s proposed enterprise agreement threatens the job security and earning potential of workers by scrapping overtime entitlements, introducing a ‘B’ rate for new employees on far worse pay and conditions, and attempting to remove job security protections which would allow good reliable Toll jobs to be contracted out to the lowest common denominator.

“This is an outrageous attack on the jobs of hard-working truck drivers,” said TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.

“Over the last year, truckies worked harder than ever and delayed negotiations to assist Toll while the effect on the economy played out.”

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