The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said that FedEx has threatened to hit workers in the pocket if they participate in the four-stoppages scheduled to start today.
The union said striking staff will be locked out for the remainder of the shift and the following shift, meaning many workers will lose out on two days’ pay per action.
In a media statement last week, FedEx said it had offered to make the largest wage increase for workers in the logistics sector, a total of 9.25 per cent over three years.
In addition, FedEx also offered to increase superannuation during the three-year period, reaching 13 per cent in 2024.
But the union said FedEx’s offer is not as good as it seems because it does not take into account the pay rises that workers have missed since their last deal expired.
“FedEx’s four-year offer is a disingenuous swindle that would deliver annual wage rises barely above 2 per cent,” said Michael Kaine, TWU national secretary.
The TWU is calling on FedEx to abandon its attacks on workers and settle a fair agreement which locks in job security and repays the hard work and sacrifices made throughout the pandemic.
“After seven difficult months of trying to negotiate with a company with an anti-worker agenda which refuses to recognise a reasonable solution, FedEx workers have exhausted all options but to pursue their legal right to withdraw their labour,” said Kaine.
“FedEx is cutting off its nose to spite its face. Management would rather start an all-out brawl with workers at great cost to its business and customers than consider the reasonable solution brought to the table by union members.”
Kaine said FedEx’s decision to invoke the lockout right also provides workers with greater ability to take more disruptive industrial action.
Following lockouts, workers are no longer required to provide three full business days’ notice of a strike, allowing them to down tools and walk off the job at any moment.
The TWU has notified of rolling four-hour work stoppages starting on Monday in New South Wales and Western Australia, Tuesday in Victoria and Tasmania, and Wednesday in Queensland and South Australia. Further rolling actions will be determined by workers who are now able to walk off the job with minimal notice.
Peter Langley, vice president, FedEx Express Australasia, said the offer made is the most competitive by any company in the sector, “providing certainty on wage increases in the next three years at a time when external economic conditions are hard to predict.”
“We are keen to conclude these negotiations and get these industry-leading increases passed on to employees quickly,” added Langley.