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Transport workers strike over job security fears

strike

Transport workers at FedEx yards across the country will strike for 24-hours next Thursday after the Tranport Workers Union says the company failed to guarantee job security.

Notification of the strike comes as up to 2000 workers at StarTrack walked off the job at midnight for similar reasons.

Workers entered crisis talks with FedEx on Tuesday after a ballot of TWU members returned a resounding 97 per cent yes vote to strikes.

The union says talks broke down when the company rejected demands for caps on outside hire and for existing employees to be guaranteed work before contracting out. The TWU also says the company has refused to guarantee same-job-same-pay provisions for outside hire.

FedEx has been approached for comment.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the FedEx and StarTrack strikes affecting 6000 transport workers show how deeply the insecure work crisis in transport runs.

“Everywhere you look, transport workers are in the fight of their lives to stop insidious cost-cutting plans which would gut the decent jobs that thousands of workers and their families rely on,” said Kaine.

“After responsibly agreeing to defer bargaining for a year, FedEx workers have been battling for job guarantees for six months and management has dismissed them at every turn.

“If FedEx had no plans to outsource work, they would have given a commitment on day one. Workers shouldn’t have been put in the position of choosing between strikes and signing a shoddy agreement which would see their jobs express shipped out to the lowest bidder.”

Kaine said the federal government must stop sitting on its hands and set up an independent tribunal to create minimum protections for workers.

UPDATE:

In a statement, a FedEx spokesperson said the company is disappointed that the TWU has chosen to take this step while enterprise agreement negotiations continue.

“FedEx currently pays higher wage rates and superannuation when compared with many of our competitors. Our current wage increase offer is also very competitive,” siad the spokesperson.

“FedEx is committed to promoting job security for our employees, and we have agreed in our negotiations to reduce the use of outside hire where we are able. However, in the course of doing our business, we do face situations such as annual leave and peak periods where it is necessary to engage outside hire to meet our delivery commitments and provide industry leading service to customers.

“The TWU are demanding that we increase the rates that we pay to outside hire companies. We would prefer to invest this money in our business and our employees, which is the best way we can promote job security and employment for our employees for a sustainable long-term future. We firmly believe that the best way to promote job security for our employees is through growing our business.”

The spokesperson added that FedEx hopes to work together with the TWU to finalise an enterprise agreement that balances the interests of both team members and the company.

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