BREAKING NEWS:

IS WINTER REALLY COMING? – LIZZABITTY

Transport giant Toll says 7,000 truck drivers walking off job caused minimal disruptions

KEY POINTS:

  • 7,000 Toll truck drivers have gone on strike for 24 hours as part of enterprise bargaining negotiations
  • Toll says the strike caused disruption for a number of clients including minor delays to some medical supplies in Sydney
  • Toll plans to run extra services on Saturday to clear the delivery backlog

Transport giant Toll Group says a 24-hour strike by 7,000 truck drivers has affected some customers, with the impact including minor delays to the delivery of some medical supplies in Sydney.
Thousands of truck drivers employed by one of Australia’s largest transport firms went on strike across the country today in a stoush over pay and conditions.
Why did they go on strike?
The drivers are members of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and they are negotiating over their new enterprise bargaining agreement, which determines pay and conditions.

Toll is offering a 2 per cent pay rise for the next two years and a $1,000 sign-on bonus after the workers agreed to forgo a pay rise last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the TWU, which is negotiating on behalf of the workers, is calling for a 3 per cent pay rise and job security.

Negotiations broke down because Toll wants to cut overtime for permanent staff and use short-term contractors and workers from labour hire firms on lower wages.

The truck drivers are worried about their future in an industry which the TWU says is already pushed to the brink in terms of safety and conditions.

Toll agreed in the previous enterprise agreement to employ transport workers full time “wherever possible” and to promote job security “through the full utilisation” of full-time permanent transport workers and owner-drivers before part-time and casual staff.

The union said drivers depend on overtime to make their job “viable”.

Under the Road Transport and Distribution Award, a junior transport worker earns $21.53 an hour while a senior worker earns $27.53 an hour.

With overtime on Sunday those rates nearly double to $43.06 and $50.72 an hour, and they rise again on public holidays.

Ninety-four per cent of union members voted to take industrial action in an official ballot overseen by the Fair Work Commission, which means they were legally allowed to go on strike.

What does Toll say?
Toll is one of Australia’s largest transport companies and it has customers across a range of industries from retail and beverages to hospitals, chemicals, agribusiness and mining.

Its customers include supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, food manufacturer Mondelez and fast food chain McDonalds.

Toll Global Express president Alan Beacham told ABC’s New Breakfast program the company had used non-union staff members, casuals and contractors to deliver goods.

“Toll has faced significant disruptions in the past — bush fires, cyber attacks, the COVID-19 pandemic — we’ve managed all of them,” he said.

By the end of the day, a Toll spokeswoman told the ABC that Toll was please to report “minimal disruption” to most of its services and would run extra services on Saturday to clear most of the backlog.

“That’s not to say it was all smooth sailing,” she said.

“There were certainly some difficulties and a number of clients did face delays in receiving their goods.”

“The union’s actions have caused some minor delays to the delivery of some medical supplies in Sydney, but this has since been fixed.”

The TWU had promised that medical supplies, including COVID-19 vaccines, would be exempt from the industrial action.

The TWU had promised that medical supplies, including COVID-19 vaccines, would be exempt from the industrial action.

Guillaume Maze, a Toll truckie, told News Breakfast that striking workers were being mindful of the community.

“I don’t think there will be massive disruption,” he said.

“There will be some disruption, but not as far as groceries and medical goods are concerned because that is something that will never stop. Home deliveries, that sort of thing will certainly be affected.”

He said workers were also trying to stop the casualisation of Toll’s workforce.

“The yard I work out of has lost about 60 people over the last year, permanent employees that were made redundant, only to be replaced with outside hire, contractors with their trucks and doing our jobs,” he said.

“All these people had permanent secure jobs and ended up leaving the business only to be replaced with people who are being paid a lot less than we are and undercutting us in our own yards.”

What do Toll’s customers say?
Toll’s customers got their deliveries because of the company’s contingency plans, although there were some delays.

Retailers are already under the pump because of the COVID lockdowns and restrictions, and because global supply chains were being squeezed by huge demand for products as economies rebound from the pandemic.

National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said the strike by delivery drivers was bad news for retailers at a challenging time.

“Strict border restrictions and the COVID pandemic already has the nation’s supply chain under immense strain,” she said.

“The last thing we need is industrial action at a time when many small businesses are hanging by a thread.”

Supermarkets are also facing a shortage of workers because of the spread of the virus and the need for infected or potentially exposed staff to isolate.

Could there be more strikes?
More strikes by truck drivers could be on the table as enterprise bargaining negotiations continue across the transport industry.

The Transport Workers Union says up to 15,000 drivers in total could go on strike during the EBA negotiations with the five big transport firms as the industry pushes down wages by using cheaper contractors.

This figure includes the Toll drivers.

Two-thousand workers in the food and alcohol supply chains serviced by Linfox and Bevchain applied to the Fair Work Commission this week to hold votes on taking protected industrial action.

Could there be more strikes?
More strikes by truck drivers could be on the table as enterprise bargaining negotiations continue across the transport industry.

The Transport Workers Union says up to 15,000 drivers in total could go on strike during the EBA negotiations with the five big transport firms as the industry pushes down wages by using cheaper contractors.

This figure includes the Toll drivers.

Two-thousand workers in the food and alcohol supply chains serviced by Linfox and Bevchain applied to the Fair Work Commission this week to hold votes on taking protected industrial action.

Another 6,000 transport workers are voting on industrial action at StarTrack and FedEx.

The union said the transport companies are trying to cut costs by cutting wages and conditions.

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said drivers were under a lot of pressure to meet delivery deadlines while also having to deal with COVID restrictions.

“The agreement proposed by Toll will lower standards in an industry already in crisis,” he said.

“Drivers know all too well what happens when conditions and pay are dragged down in transport: stressed, chronically fatigued drivers are forced to work long hours, speed and skip rest breaks resulting in deaths and injuries on our roads.

“We should be lifting standards in Australia’s deadliest industry, not pulling them down.”

He wants to see the reintroduction of an independent road safety tribunal to better protect workers in the trucking industry.

Earlier this week, a Senate committee on road transport safety recommended that an independent tribunal be restablished.

ORIGINAL POST

 

 


Liked it? Take a second to support LanceScurv on Patreon!

About The Author

Media Personality / President Of ScurvMedia LLC / International Social Media Influencer / Culture Critic / Podcast Host / Blogger / Cartoonist & Activist who focuses on the issues of raw human nature the Mainstream Media is deathly afraid to touch! 

Related posts

>