Australian union demands level playing field for all workers in face of TNT dispute

Release date: 11/03/2011

An Australian union has called for legislation to be changed so that casual workers receive better protection. The call comes in the midst of the union’s dispute with TNT, which puts the spotlight on contractor employees and hired labour.

National secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) of Australia, Tony Sheldon, said on 8 March that the government should change the Workplace Relations Act 1996, which was amended by the Workplace Relations Amendment Act 2005, to improve provide a level playing field for all workers, including contractor employees and casualised labour, who should receive minimum wage, leave and compensation entitlements.

Sheldon said that there was “a growing divide between working people with some rights and working people and their families with no rights.”

The TWU is currently involved in an ongoing contract dispute with TNT; the union is demanding “site rates”, so that contract and casual workers do not undermine the rest of the workforce, as well as the establishment of a “safe rates committee” to make sure that casual and contractor workers are paid the correct wages and that safety measures are put into practice.

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