Delivering 2020 to Achieve 2035

TWU National Council met in Adelaide this year to discuss the campaigns underway that are delivering the union’s 2035 Vision for better jobs and conditions for transport workers. We are making great progress in the 2020 stage of our plan, such as: taking on the economic employers; setting industry standards; building sector strength; and making the industry fight global.
Keynote speeches during the week included ALP deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek; ACTU Secretary Sally McManus; former foreign minister Bob Carr; ALP SA leader Peter Malinauskas; Bob Katter MP; Senators Alex Gallacher and Glenn Sterle; Australian Workers’ Union National Secretary Daniel Walton, and Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon.

Here are some highlights of this year’s TWU National Council:
1. Coles-TWU Agreement – to Ensure Safety & Fairness in the Coles Supply Chain & On-demand Economy

Coles and the TWU have signed two important Statements of Principles that will ensure safe and fair conditions for workers in the Coles supply chain and the on-demand economy.
The first Statement, signed at TWU National Council in Adelaide by Coles Managing Director John Durkan and TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon, includes five principles to ensure safety and fairness for transport workers within the Coles supply chain.
A separate Statement of Principles about workers in the on-demand economy recognises that workers in the on-demand economy are involved in a rapidly changing workplace environment, but this doesn’t mean artificial terms for workers should limit their access to appropriate entitlements such as leave, proper payment, superannuation, safe working conditions and representation.
“This is a major positive for all transport workers – whether in traditional industries or the on-demand economy. Coles and the TWU are saying through these principles that there is no higher priority than safety and fairness in the Coles supply chain and the on-demand economy,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.

2. Toll Global Charter Launch in Australia

A global Charter ensuring safe and fair working standards across Toll Group’s global network has been launched in Australia during the TWU National Council period.
The Charter will cover all Toll employees across its 1,200 sites in 50 countries, follows negotiations between Toll, the Transport Workers’ Union, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its other affiliated unions.
Under the charter, Toll, which represents 44,000 workers in road transport and distribution, logistics, supply chain and warehousing, has committed to making a significant investment in the development and implementation of a global project that will raise standards and safety in its main sectors.
TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said: “Toll’s employees are intrinsic to ensuring the success of the company. This Charter shows Toll’s commitment to its employees and its promise to put fairness and safety at the heart of its operations.”
The TWU is also working with Toll and unions in the US over worker rights, safety and fairness at sites in California.

3. Airbnb-TWU Agreement – Let’s start a race to the top in the gig economy

A ground-breaking agreement between the Transport Workers’ Union and Airbnb will see the home sharing platform actively promote package and food delivery companies that adhere to safe rates of pay and union conditions, and the TWU endorse Airbnb for promoting humane labour standards.
“Airbnb’s decision to sign this agreement is a stark contrast to many gig economy platforms which are built on unravelling fair rates of pay and hard-won conditions,” said Tony Sheldon, TWU National Secretary.
“With Airbnb we are encouraging a race to the top. Under this agreement a package or food delivery company that demonstrates it pays safe rates of pay and observes decent employment conditions will be actively promoted by Airbnb.”
While the agreement will initially focus on food and package delivery, it will eventually expand to other parts of the transport industry.

5. Protest at Adelaide Airport

Airport workers have protested at Adelaide airport, calling on airports, airlines and Governments to address poor working conditions that are forcing staff to sleep at the airports.
Protesters called for an end to low pay, forced part time jobs, casual work and split shifts. They warned these working conditions are risking safety and security because of high turnover rates and chronic fatigue.
“Airport workers are being ripped off while airports and airlines are making billions of dollars in profit. This doesn’t just affect the employees at airports but is causing safety and security breaches on a daily basis. If the Federal Government is serious about increasing security at our airports then it should start with holding airports and airlines to account for the conditions staff are forced to work in,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
The four main airports Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth earned over $2 billion in profit in 2016-17, according to the ACCC’s monitoring report released last month.
Aviation ground services company Aerocare has been exposed after footage showed staff are forced to sleep at airports.

6. Truck Drivers & Supporters Blocked Adelaide Roads During Protest Against Aldi

Over 100 truck drivers and their supporters angry at Aldi’s refusal to address safety concerns have blocked a busy intersection in Adelaide during a protest. Protesters held up traffic during a march around Victoria Square and sat on the road at the intersection of Grote Street for over 20 minutes, calling on Aldi to end its attack on drivers raising safety concerns.
“At the heart of the problem with retailers like Aldi is the move two years ago by the Federal Government to let wealthy retailers off the hook over safety in their supply chains. When it shut down an independent road safety watchdog scrutiny on the pressures in transport which cause deaths and injuries ended. But drivers will not allow the likes of Aldi get away with it. They will continue to protest despite Aldi’s attacks because it is their lives and the lives of people they share the roads with that are being put at risk,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
The number of people killed in truck crashes is increasing. In the 12 months to last September there was a 9.2% increase in deaths from articulated truck crashes, according to data from Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.  Since the Federal Government tore down the road safety watchdog, 371 people have died in truck crashes. The job for drivers is also getting more dangerous. Safe Work Australia data for 2017 showed almost 40% of all workplace deaths involved a transport worker.

7. TWU Calls for ‘Three Strikes’ Law for Employers on Public Projects

Governments must use the power of their $600 billion annual spend to ensure decent labour standards and lift wage growth, says the Transport Workers’ Union.
A report by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work reveals the destructive influence on the economy by governments which promote low wage growth through reduced wages and restricted labour rights on publicly-funded work – including using market pressures to drive down wages.
The TWU supports recommendations in the report, such as the calling for “pre-qualification” of bidder of contracts, whereby companies must document their ability to carry out the work and their adherence to labour standards. Companies which violate the standards would lose their “pre-qualification” status and be precluded from bidding on future projects.

8. Other Highlights of TWU National Council 2018
Keynote speech: Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek MP

Keynote speech: ACTU Secretary Sally McManus

Leader of the South Australian Labor Party Address: Peter Malinauskas

Keynote speech: ITF General Secretary Steve Cotton

International panel, chaired by Senator Glenn Sterle

Keynote speech: ITF Global Youth Coordinator Baker Khundakji

Keynote speech: Michael Quinlan


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