Ewin Hannan, The Australian
ACTU president Ged Kearney said yesterday the company's agreement with the Transport Workers Union was a "great win" for the union movement's strong campaign to tackle insecurity of employment.
Tony Sheldon, the union's national secretary, said the agreement with TNT should send a message to Qantas, which has rejected the job security clauses as a "veto on change".
"This agreement shows employers can take the high road like many companies have, or they can take the low road," he said.
Mr Sheldon said the three-year agreement covering 3000 TNT employees and 800 owner-drivers provided for annual pay rises of 4 per cent.
But the union fell short of its bid for annual superannuation rises of 2 per cent, with the company agreeing to increases of 1 to 1.5 per cent provided profit targets were achieved.
While the company declined to comment yesterday, Mr Sheldon said the agreement provided that labour-hire employees received the same rates of pay as workers directly engaged by TNT.
"This agreement means the company can no longer turn to labour hire or casuals to undermine the working conditions of their direct-hire employees," he said.
Casuals would have the right to seek conversion to permanency after nine months, he said, and TNT had committed to use permanent full-time workers before casuals, labour hire or outside-hire employees.
Ms Kearney welcomed the company's commitments.
"TNT have shown themselves to be among trendsetter exemplary employers, because they recognise insecure work is a zero-sum game," she said.
"This agreement . . . is a great win for the campaign about insecure work that will help reverse the growth of precarious employment in the sector."
The ACTU leader urged other employers to negotiate job security clauses that were "mutually beneficial to employees and employers".
"TNT has clearly recognised that a satisfied and secure workforce will be more loyal and productive, and that's a message we will be sending to employers across Australia in the coming months," she said.
Having struck agreements with other major transport companies including Linfox, the TWU is yet to finalise an agreement with Star Track Express, a joint-venture express logistics business operated by Qantas and Australia Post.
Qantas has appointed Qantas Freight executive manager Stephen Cleary as chief executive of Star Track Express.
Given Qantas's opposition to the job security clauses, the TWU could struggle to reach an agreement with Star Track.
Qantas management is due to resume negotiations today with representatives of their long-haul pilots over their union's push for job security clauses.
The pilots are still to detail the type of industrial action they would consider if negotiations failed to deliver a settlement.
Further talks are scheduled for mid-April.
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