UPDATE (11.04AM AEDT 14 October): Toll has issued a statement regarding the new enterprise bargaining agreement with employees, saying it "preserves the already excellent conditions Toll employees enjoy".
At least some of the delivery worker strikes planned in the lead-up to Christmas have the potential to be called off, after the Transport Workers Union (TWU) reached an in-principle agreement with Toll for enhanced job security protections and 15 per cent superannuation.
The new agreement will be put to national union delegates on Friday, and includes notable gains for Toll workers like first preference for all available work, same pay for outside hire as employees, and improvements to consultation and auditing rights.
Over the coming weeks the TWU plans to meet with other logistics companies like FedEx, Linfox and Startrack in the hopes of striking similar deals.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said the proposed agreement set an “important precedent for transport operators still denying reasonable job security protections for employees”.
“This triumph is all the sweeter given the hard slog Toll workers have endured over the last couple of years battling mismanagement, cyber-attacks, a split of the company with half sold off during negotiations, and proposals to bring in an underclass of workers to undercut employees in their own yards,” said Kaine.
“As Christmas draws nearer and negotiations reach their sixth month, it’s time to end the attack on jobs and prevent the need for further industrial action.”
The TWU representative also called on the Federal Government to establish an independent body to set minimum binding standards for the industry.
“We implore StarTrack, FedEx, Linfox and BevChain to follow Toll’s lead and commit to the reasonable protections workers are seeking."
“Workers are doing the hard yards of fixing an insecure work crisis in transport, but they are only able to provide band-aid solutions to protect their own jobs. This is an industry-wide emergency requiring Federal Government action.”
The TWU rank and file had recently planned a nationwide strike in response to claims of unequal working conditions and the prevalence of job outsourcing, though Toll Workers will not take part in demonstrations if the offer is accepted.
The most recent planned actions follow the release of a survey from the TWU, alleging that certain employers had pressured workers to use stimulants, work overtime, skip breaks and continue working under generally unsafe conditions.
Many of the respondents had claimed the amount of job outsourcing had compromised job security, pay and safety. A large number of workers said the alleged circumstances had made them more financially desperate.
TWU claims Toll had attempted to erode workers' rights by introducing a b-grade workforce on 30 per cent less pay and fixed-term contracts, which transport workers had managed to fight off the proposal with coordinated strike action.
TWU NSW/Qld Secretary and lead Toll negotiator Richard Olsen is optimistic the win will ultimately benefit the health and well-being of employees and demonstrates their resilience in the face of ongoing hardship.
“The future is looking far brighter at Toll and in later life, with an industry-first offer of 15 per cent superannuation leading the way to dignity in retirement for frontline transport workers,” says Olsen.
“It is a testament to the strength and unity of TWU members that job security provisions were retrieved from Toll’s shredder and reinforced with extra protections.
“The negotiating committee is pleased to have a decent offer to present to the membership who will, as always, have the final say.”
The issue of job security for transport workers will be examined further in a senate inquiry today; TWU and a StarTrack worker have given evidence this morning, followed by StarTrack, Toll and FedEx this afternoon.
UPDATE (11.04AM AEDT 14 October): Toll pleased to reach an agreement with TWU
In response to reaching the new agreement with the TWU, a Toll spokeswoman says the new enterprise bargaining agreement "preserves the already excellent conditions Toll employees enjoy".
"We’ve been negotiating with the union since April and our management team is pleased the negotiations went so well. We look forward to presenting this offer to our employees with the TWU’s endorsement," says the Toll spokeswoman.
"The new EBA preserves the already excellent conditions Toll employees enjoy while delivering a reasonable pay rise and extra superannuation that maintains our position as the leading employer in the transport industry.
"We’re pleased the union has acknowledged that our employees already have the best job security in the industry and that we need to keep flexibility in the workforce to respond to issues in the supply chain as they arise. Some of the union’s statements in respect of the outcomes, for example “the same pay for outside hire as employees” do not properly reflect the in-principle deal that was struck. Toll agreed to maintain provisions relating to job security already in the agreement, and agreed to some further protections, for example, relating to the outsourcing of work.
"Our core focus in these negotiations has been about providing stability in very challenging times – for our people, our business and the customers we serve. We believe this agreement achieves those objectives and we thank the TWU, the delegates, our management team and our employees for getting us to this point."
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