Fair Work Rules Linfox Workers Can Spend Public Holidays With Families

Release date: 18/02/2016

TWU NSW MEDIA RELEASE, 18 February 2016

Transport Workers Union NSW Secretary Michael Aird has welcomed a ruling that allows night shift warehouse workers in Sydney’s West to continue spending public holidays at home with their families instead of being forced into work at the whims Linfox management.

Mr Aird was speaking after the Fair Work Commission determined that Linfox had no right to unilaterally change the way that it treats public holidays for warehouse workers at Linfox Erskine Park because of a custom and practice clause in the TWU - Linfox enterprise agreement.

“The whims of managers shouldn’t determine whether warehouse workers get to celebrate public holidays with their families or are forced to work,” Mr Aird said.
“The nature of night shift work means that your family time is already limited. You work at night so you can support your family and pay the bills. This callous and thoughtless decision to further limit family time was a disgrace. We’re glad the Commission has backed our members pre-existing right to spend public holidays with their families in this sensible decision.”
TWU delegate and Linfox worker James Mitchell said that Linfox management on site came in with all guns blazing and announced a unilateral change that would have forced warehouse workers to start work at 10pm on the night of a public holiday.
“If management had got their way I wouldn’t have got to relax with my family on Australia Day, Anzac Day or any of the other public holidays.  I’d be keeping an eye on my watch instead of the snags on the barbie,” Mr Mitchell said.
“It felt like the manager just woke up one day and decided to change our schedules thus totally changing our lives.
“Because nearly everyone in the yard is a TWU member, we were able to call Linfox managers out over this. We had the support to take the issue into the courts and I am glad things will remain as they should be.”
Mr Aird said this was the second time in 12 months the TWU has successfully challenged an arbitrary change to workplace practices by Linfox managers.
“TWU Linfox members negotiated hard to secure a custom and practice clause into the national workplace agreement. This means managers cannot make changes on a whim without “reaching agreement with the TWU members,” Mr Aird said.
“This is the second time we’ve given Linfox a legal bloody nose. We hope this serves as a wakeup call for Linfox managers – don’t try to arbitrarily upend your employees’ lives. Negotiate fairly and honestly and don’t waste time clogging up the courts.”

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