Release date: 2/07/2009

The Transport Workers Union today welcomed a new era of Industrial Relations across Australia after the Fair Work Bill came into effect this week replacing Workchoices, giving more workers access to enterprise bargaining.

Transport Workers Union National Secretary, Tony Sheldon, said the new legislation gave greater access to the workplace and the TWU would be planning to increase its influence as a result.

“We have allocated $1 million for a national campaign to organise the retail supply chain,” Mr Sheldon said.

“Major retailers use their costing structures, profit margins and systems to drive rates down in our industry. For example, wages in the transport sector for owner-drivers and employees had dropped 5.6 per cent in 2007-2008 when the financial sector was still strong.

“Nationally we are putting around 100 organisers into organising supply chains in the retail, aviation and general transport industries. We have been working on this for some time and we know where we need to be to put in place agreements which are worthwhile for our entire membership,” Mr Sheldon said.

Mr Sheldon said the new IR legislation would be fairer for employees and other sectors of the transport industry would also benefit from the changes to the legislation.

“Employees now have the right to join a union, the right to representation in negotiations and protection from unfair dismissal but they also have access to good-faith bargaining,” Mr Sheldon said.

“Under Workchoices, employees were left open to abuse. We had one negotiation with Booth Transport where union and non-union employees rejected the company’s proposed agreement.

An EBA was eventually negotiated and agreed upon by all parties, and within a week of the agreement being registered the company was employing people on AWA’s at lesser conditions and pay.

“Employers will now find it more difficult to double-cross their employees, as the negotiated outcomes made in good faith will be legally enforceable,” Mr Sheldon said.

Media Contact: Seth Tenkate 0408 463 199. 

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