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Toll asks union to reconsider pay offer and make a deal

Toll Group is urging the TWU to reconsider its position and make a deal that benefits employees after a further round of pay negotiations broke down yesterday.

Alan Beacham, divisional president, Toll Group, said that despite a “very positive meeting” the union is still refusing to agree to a reasonable outcome with Toll that will benefit employees.

He said payroll data shows approximately 2300 of Toll employees, nowhere near the 7000 claimed by the union, took industrial action last week.

“This low number reassures us we’re on the right track and that our offer is a fair and reasonable one,” Beacham said in a statement.

“We’re really pleased Toll employees recognise they are already amongst the best paid and protected in the industry.

“Our team have the best superannuation guarantee [14.75 per cent] and our safety record is the best in the sector. At the end of the day, the company’s offer improves the current terms and conditions, despite union claims to the contrary.”

Under the circumstances, Beacham is adamant that the offer of a 2 per cent increase in 2022, another 2 per cent increase in 2023 and a $1000 sign-on bonus this year is generous.

He said Toll has also improved employees’ terms and conditions by offering:

  • A signed deed that ensures the terms and conditions of all employees and subcontractors that are transferring with the sale of Global Express are maintained
  • A commitment to ensure that at least 60 per cent of the workforce are employees or tied owner drivers
  • A commitment to maintain the current number of permanent employed long distance linehaul drivers
  • Provision of Covid leave for people required to isolate, as well as the provision of up to 4 hours leave to get double vaccination during work hours
  • Provision of up to three days paid leave for employees affected by family and domestic violence
  • Agreeing to make mental health first aid training available to any union delegate
  • To lift the safety of the sub-contractors doing work for Toll through the application of improved compliance systems and acquisition of safety technologies for their fleets.

“Toll has no plans, or any desire, to increase our use of casuals or contractors,” Beacham added.

“In fact, over the last three years Toll has reduced our use of casuals by over 30 per cent and use of fleet operators (contractors) by another 30 per cent.

He concedes that given Toll’s fluctuating seasonal volumes it needs the flexibility to move its workforce numbers up and down to match capacity to demand (and the TWU acknowledges this).

“It is this flexibility that in fact gives job security to the core permanent workforce. Any union claims to the contrary are simply untrue and we reject them outright.

“We know the union is planning industrial action against our competitors over the coming weeks. We are concerned the reason they are refusing to do a deal with Toll is so they can use us as leverage against those competitors.

“Industry-wide campaigning is all well and good, but it only hurts Toll employees. The union should stop using Toll to advance their industry campaign, and agree on a deal with us so our employees can get the pay rise and better conditions they deserve.”

TWU NSW/QLD secretary and lead Toll negotiator Richard Olsen said yesterday’s meeting proved to be futile.

“It is very frustrating that negotiations with Toll remain at a standstill because the company still expects workers to sign on to an agreement that would see droves of workers pushed out of their jobs,” Olsen said.

“The company can gush all it likes about pay, workers cannot make it any clearer that pay is irrelevant if your job is not secure. This has gone on long enough, workers want to sign a fair deal and move on, but they cannot sign away their livelihoods.:

After the talks broke down again, TWU members are forced to consider more strike action.

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