TWU News: Fixing what ain't broken!

Release date: 8/08/2016

Big Rigs, TWU NSW News, August 6, 2016

IT IS too often that the Transport Workers' Union is having to "fix what ain't broken” when it comes to supporting drivers who are being targeted unfairly by the management of multinational organisations.

As we all know, drivers are vital to the success for any transport operation and as such are contributing to both the national economy and the financial support of their own families.

It does mystify the TWU when we have to attend court cases on behalf of drivers who have been working hard to build their own success and that of the company they work for.

The TWU is mystified by the actions of two multinational organisations, Toll Priority and Staples.

As a result of their action, the TWU is now placing the full weight of resources behind drivers who have had to front the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to ensure justice and the restoration of their jobs.

Seven owner drivers who worked for Toll Priority are in front of the IRC this month, some of whom have been employed for up to 30 years.

The TWU has placed on the record the level of exemplary working behaviour these drivers have shown in their work for Toll Priority.

Their employment file shows no problems with their commitment to the job.

Toll Priority has no record of disciplinary issues against these drivers and importantly they are on record as having complied with the directions of management over their career.

Enter new managers, new ownership and a Toll commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers report that meant that the seven drivers have been terminated, unilaterally based on that report.

They are now being supported in the IRC by the TWU fighting unfair termination and company claims that they were not "productive” enough and had been engaging in alleged practices that were detrimental.

Remember these are eight drivers with good working records for Toll Priority, of up to 30 years standing.

Staples' owner drivers are in front of the IRC too, and the issue they face is that they sacked owner drivers by SMS.

These are drivers who dared to speak up about being paid as little as eight dollars an hour.

These drivers are concerned because of the impact on the investment in their contracts and day to day running costs.

The rise in online home delivery of parcels, which pay only $2 per delivery, has made their jobs almost unworkable.

Drivers have spent months trying to talk with Staples management, but the final response from Staples was to terminate.

Since the sackings, Staples have offered some drivers a new contract on reduced rates.

Out of economic desperation, some drivers were left with no choice but to accept.

All the drivers affected have this month provided evidence to the commission on the level of unfair treatment that has been dished out by Staples.

The TWU is increasingly concerned that these heartless practices may become the norm across the industry.

More and more we see evidence that clients are demanding that drivers (under the threat of losing their contracts) drive excessive hours, speed, overload their vehicles, skip maintenance on their trucks and skip breaks.

We have a way of fighting back, the TWU is in the unique position to support members as we are the only association registered that can apply for unfair termination cases related to owner drivers to be heard in front of the commission for this industry.

As an organisation run by its members, we have stood together as one across the nation to put the Prime Minister on notice regarding Safe Rates.

The abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal is an utter disgrace.

We seek safe and fair pay and conditions for transport workers, paid for by transport clients.

With the Prime Minister having little regard for the experiences of Australian families who have lost loved ones in truck crashes, more than ever we need to fight to make sure that Safe Rates and national laws are in place to hold transport clients to account for the safe transport of their freight.

The lives of our members matter.

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