Teamsters Tell TWU Your Fight is Our Fight

Release date: 1/06/2012

The Transport Workers Union has struck a global solidarity charter with the US Teamsters union, to co-ordinate campaigns against mutual employers they claim have declared a "war on workers".

Ewin Hannan, The Australian 

The unions said recent battles against Qantas and the Toll Group had strengthened their commitment to campaign against companies with a commercial footprint in the US and Australia. 

Jeff Farmer, director of organising with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said his union would be prepared to exert pressure on US parent companies with operations in Australia. 

"That's where I think we can really be of great assistance to each other," Mr Farmer said in Sydney where he is attending the TWU's national council. 

"Whether it's using a positive relationship that we have with a company, or whether you are needing to exert some sort of leverage on a company that's based in the US that may be acting in a certain way here, the tactics will come from the situation. But if the call goes out from the leadership and the membership of the Transport Workers Union of Australia, the Teamsters will respond. 

"We'll do whatever it takes to assist our colleagues. The way I would view this is we're taking a strong relationship and we're ramping it up. We're saying that not only is our fight your fight and your fight our fight, but we are in this together. Our experience is if we fight together, we will win."

The charter commits the two unions to share staff resources and "design joint campaigns around mutual employers". 

"The retail giants, the predominant user of transport services across the globe, such as Walmart and Coles, need to be held responsible for their draconian labour and safety practices that occur across their supply chains," the charter says. "There can be no contracting out of accountability and responsibility. No washing the blood from the hands. We will jointly campaign for industry codes of practice across sectors such as port trucking and the retail industry." 

The TWU this week held a rally of truck drivers in Sydney in protest at what it claims are pressures that Coles has been putting on the drivers and the wider supply chain. 

Mr Farmer claimed the agenda of Coles "to squeeze their supply chain is right out of the Walmart playbook".

Click here to read this story on The Australian website

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