StarTrack workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking strike action if the company refuses to provide job security guarantees, says the Transport Workers’ Union today.
Those guarantees include the same pay and conditions for labour hire workers, caps on the use of lower paid outside hire, and offering work to employees before it is contracted out.
The 90 per cent vote to take action provides protection under the Fair Work Act for approximately 2000 StarTrack TWU members – almost 70 per cent of the total workforce – to go on strike.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine congratulated workers on taking a stand.
“StarTrack workers have their eyes wide open to the game being played with their livelihoods,” said Kaine.
“At the same time as the company floods yards with contractors with fewer rights, it refuses the crucial job security guarantees employees deserve. Workers have no choice but to fight for their jobs and they’ve sent that message through a strong vote for the right to go on strike.
“The ball is in StarTrack’s court and we implore the major transport operator to act responsibly.”
In a media statement to Big Rigs today, Michelle Skehan, StarTrack spokesperson said the company had put its best and final pay offer to the TWU which includes a market-leading guaranteed pay rise of 9 per cent over three years, delivered as 3 per cent compounding each year.
“This is the best pay offer among our competitors. StarTrack is not proposing any reductions in pay or conditions for its employees,” Skehan said.
“We are disappointed that the TWU is threatening this action during a time when the crucial supply of essential goods has never been more important. Less than one-third of StarTrack’s workforce voted to support this action.
“Any industrial action would have a significant impact on customers, particularly those in vulnerable regional communities requiring essential supplies such as medicines, protective equipment and vaccines.”
She added that StarTrack strongly rejects that job security is under threat.
“In fact StarTrack’s enterprise agreements, which were negotiated with the TWU in 2017 and 2018, already contain significant job security protections including paying EBA labour rates to labour-hire personnel; paying EBA labour rates to outside hire and independent contractors, and converting casual employees after regular and systematic engagement over a certain period of time.”
As part of the current round of negotiations StarTrack has offered to further enhance job security protections including introducing new labour-hire conversion rights; enhancing casual conversion rights, and improving auditing processes to ensure outside hire supplier are providing EBA rates of pay, said Skehan.
“We have acted and negotiated in good faith throughout this process and we call on the TWU to do the same.”
Meanwhile, a protected action ballot opened at Linfox today and another began at Bevchain on Wednesday. FedEx workers are currently voting, until 5pm, September 17, said the union.
A meeting between the TWU and Toll Logistics took place yesterday. Workers pushed the company to provide job security guarantees and abandon a move to fixed term contracts, which have still not been resolved. Another meeting is scheduled for September 21.