Cold Hearted Swires Sacks Workers
Release date: 25/01/2016
The TWU condemns the actions taken by management at Swire Cold Storage/Frigmobile in forcing redundancies on long-term employees.
TWU QLD Branch News, 21 January 2016
After nearly eight months of good-faith EBA negotiations, drivers for Swire Cold Storage learnt this morning that they were being forced into redundancy to be replaced with cheaper subcontractors. Some employees had been with the company for over 40 years.
The EBA negotiations for Swire Cold Storage began in mid 2015, and progress was slow. One of the goals in this negotiation was a small pay rise.
The TWU had been informed on the 17th of December 2015 that some voluntary redundancies would be offered from the 14th of March, and after learning of the potential of such redundancies the negotiating team decided to accept the pay rise offer that the company had put forward, in the best interest of the members.
On Wednesday the 20th of January 2016, the TWU accepted the new EBA terms. But the very next day, drivers who arrived at work at around 4am were informed that their positions were redundant - effective immediately - and sent packing. On their way out, employees were confronted with a line of contractor drivers waiting around the corner to begin the jobs that these employees had dutifully performed for decades.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful what’s happened here” said Peter Biagini, TWU QLD Secretary. “To go from saying that there might be voluntary redundancies in March to forcing redundancies on these drivers while hiring cheaper contractors to do the same job isn’t just cold hearted - it’s completely unfair”
“Some of these drivers can’t comprehend what is happening. There’s drivers here who have worked here for up to 43 years, and all of a sudden they get to work and find out today’s their last day. It’s disgusting”
“When you have companies undercutting in the supply chain, you’re putting more pressure on drivers” said Mr Biagini. “With more pressure, accidents and deaths on our roads are more likely to happen due to the reduced focus on safety and increased focus on making a quick buck”
Media Contact: Tom Millroy, 0411 875 910
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