The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has warned that thousands of workers from major Australian transport operators will step down nationally if their companies do not agree to secure work arrangements in ongoing bargaining negotiations for companies.
- StarTrack, FedEx, Toll, Linfox and BevChain are likely to return to the union negotiating table next week
- TWU members from these companies have already voted to intervene
- The union says operators are breaking down permanent jobs to cope with the “Amazon effect”
The proposed national strike day has been approved by workers at StarTrack, FedEx, Toll, Linfox and BevChain, and these companies are likely to return to the negotiating table in the coming days.
No specific timeframe for the national industrial action has been confirmed at present.
Two weeks ago, hundreds of StarTrack employees quit their jobs and threatened to interrupt parcel deliveries nationwide.
TWU has been pushing to protect against the increase in outsourcing in the industry in corporate bargaining (EBA) negotiations over the past five months.
“In transportation, job security is literally a matter of life or death,” said union secretary of state Michael Kaine.
“When work is pushed out to low-wage earners with fewer rights, safety standards plummet.
The union said operators are aiming to reduce secure jobs to cope with the “Amazon effect” of cost savings in supply chains and competition from AmazonFlex.
Further strikes ‘will lead to delays in delivery’
But StarTrack, a company owned by the Australia Post, told ABC it vehemently denies allegations that job security is threatened.
“StarTrack is committed to its strong offering on the new EBA, which includes a market-leading guaranteed wage increase of 9 percent over three years, delivered as 3 percent compounded each year,” a spokesman said.
“This is an industry-leading payroll offer, and StarTrack does not propose any pay cuts or conditions for its employees.
FedEx said it will continue to negotiate with the union to reach a fair deal, but it is disappointed that the union is taking action.
“We have engaged in negotiations with TWU in an effort to secure an agreement that will provide a reasonable salary and early retirement increase that can be passed on to our employees as soon as possible,” FedEx told ABC in a statement.
“FedEx is committed to promoting job security for our employees, including reducing the use of external rent where we can.
“During the course of our business, however, we face situations such as annual holidays and peak periods where it is necessary to engage external hire to meet our delivery obligations and provide industry-leading service to customers.”
Australia Post reported record revenues of $ 8.27 billion and a pre-tax profit of $ 100.7 million, and StarTrack was the group’s most profitable arm with delivery volumes up to 12 percent last year.
In June, FedEx reported record-breaking annual results, with revenue rising to $ 84 billion ($ 115 billion) and net income over $ 5 billion ($ 6.8 billion) globally.
The transport industry ‘threatened’ by concert finances
Shae McCrystal is Professor of Labor Law at the University of Sydney.
She said industrial actions can cause inconvenience and irritation, but it is a fundamental right of the workers.
“Workers’ work in this case is carried out as part of their right to take protected action under the Fair Work Act,” Professor McCrystal said.
Professor McCrystal noted that the rise in the concert economy has posed potential risks to the transportation industry.
“Some work that has traditionally been done by employees with continued employment contracts is being turned into ‘gig’ work and outsourced to self-employed workers who are not subject to the same work standards,” she said.
“Employees’ hard-won terms of employment are fundamentally threatened if the work can turn into concerts.”