Driving the message home
Release date: 8/10/2012
Members from a Wollongong based delivery company stopped work last Monday to bring the delivery company to the table and discuss members’ concerns.
Transport Workers' Union NSW, 8 October 2012
Source: TWU NSW
The action came to a head, when one member noticed that the company had deducted payments totalling more than $13,000 over a long period of time. The member approached the TWU to help him get to the bottom of the payments.
When asked the reason for the payments the company claimed that the payment was a standard franchisee payment.
Wollongong Official Lee Lawler said that the payment was highly unusual, even within a commercial relationship.
“The member was never informed that any payment was to be made to the company for the franchise arrangement. The deduction of $13,000 from the pay of our member without his knowledge was unfair and unreasonable and the TWU had to step in to fix it,” said Lee Lawler.
Given the strange fee arrangement, the TWU decided to delve deeper into several franchisee contracts and found many discrepancies. The most surprising was that drivers were working under an arrangement similar to that of a contract of carriage, and were in fact not franchisees, as claimed by the company. If drivers were in fact general carriers, the company had been drastically underpaying its drivers for years.
When word spread about the deductions, drivers feared the worse and felt they had no other choice but to take direct action. This resulted in a 24 hour stoppage at the depot.
“Drivers believed that if the company was willing to deduct money from one driver, it would could happen to everyone. They did not want to sit by and wait while the company bankrupted hundreds of drivers. And so they took action to get the response they needed,” said Lee Lawler.
Since the stoppage two weeks ago the company agreed to come to the table and discuss members’ concerns and more importantly has started discussions with the TWU to develop a general carrier’s agreement.
“This is a significant win for members, who in the coming months will have an agreement that protects their rights and conditions as general carriers. This was a difficult fight but I would like to congratulate drivers on a job well done,” said TWU State Secretary Wayne Forno.
Read the original article at TWU NSW.
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