TWU

Office Supply Giant Staples Sacks 45 Sydney Based Owner Drivers By SMS

Release date: 26/04/2016

TWU NSW BRANCH MEDIA RELEASE, 26 April 2016
 
Transport Workers Union NSW Secretary Michael Aird has branded American office supplies giant Staples heartless for sacking 45 owner driver truck drivers by SMS in an ongoing dispute about low rates of pay for home deliveries and intimidation by management.

Mr Aird said that drivers will attend the NSW Industrial Relations Commission at 2pm today to push for reinstatement. The crux of the issue is the low rates for home deliveries of online shopping purchases and management’s ongoing harassment of drivers.
 
“This American billion dollar company thinks it can treat these 45 hard-working small business owner drivers like garbage,” Mr Aird said.
 
“In some cases drivers have put upwards of $130,000* into their business yet they are earning as little as $8 per hour* - you can’t run a business on that and you certainly can’t support a family on that money.”
 
Staples owner driver Richard Manning said that he was worried about how to support his family.
 
“We’re desperate – this is our businesses and our ability to support our families on the line,” Mr Manning said.
 
“We are all business people so we know how a company works, but we simply can’t make ends meet on the rates paid by Staples management for home deliveries.
 
“We have tried on numerous occasions to sit down with management and reach a fair solution, but they have snubbed us at every turn.”
 
Mr Aird said that Malcolm Turnbull needs to decide whether he is on the side of owner drivers or on the side of mutli-billion dollar corporations.
 
“The question for the Federal Government is, will Malcolm Turnbull and his Government stand up for these owner drivers just like he claimed to be doing last week when he abolished the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal?” said Mr Aird.
 
“Staples had a gross international income of $5.7 billion last year and the global CEO Ronald L Sargent was paid $19.65 million – this is a company that is clearly not short of a dollar.
 
“What they are trying to do is import a US model of squeezing rates as low as possible, sweating drivers and sacking anyone who attempts to speak out.
 
“The company offered some drivers a new contract on existing rates, but in a tactic straight out of the American union-busting model, four members of the drivers committee, two of the oldest drivers and one other have not been offered jobs back. All drivers have refused the contract.
 
“We know that if Staples succeeds here, other major companies likes Coles will take this as a green light to push down rates and conditions across their supply chains.”
  
*Figure of $130,000 includes a payment of $100,000 to secure the work and $30,000 for their trucks.
 
*Drivers are paid per parcel delivery and can deliver to, on average, four addresses per hour on a run. Household packages are almost always in a single box and paid at $2, meaning some drivers can be earning as little as $8 per hour. In contrast to business deliveries where drivers can earn a much more reasonable figure as they are delivering in bulk.

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