Transport workers have notified StarTrack, FedEx and BevChain of strike action this Thursday if the companies fail to present a fair agreement offer, while Linfox, Global Express, ACFS and Ceva workers have landed strong in-principle agreements.
The deals achieved by TWU members at Linfox, Global Express, ACFS and Ceva provide job security protections like caps on outsourcing and improved consultation rights as well as pay and super rises which reflect their hard work.
Global Express followed Toll’s lead to become the second transport company in Australia to provide 15% superannuation this year. Linfox workers will reach the same rate in July 2022.
Last week, TWU members achieved significant movement on job security protections at StarTrack, FedEx and BevChain, but after six months of negotiations, in-principle agreements have still not been reached, sparking protected industrial action this Thursday.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said transport workers are facing ideological battles at StarTrack and FedEx who are deliberately playing games with workers’ lives.
“As good deals are reached locking in strong job security clauses and fair pay and super increases across major transport operators, StarTrack and FedEx are exposed as outliers persisting with their attacks on workers and trying to profit off the pandemic.
“On the one hand, you have a government-owned company which has deliberately delayed reaching an agreement to swindle workers for as long as possible. On the other, an international union-busting juggernaut which pulled in over US$5 billion in net profit last year.
“Based on performance, these companies should have been the first to provide job security guarantees and fair pay and conditions to reflect workers’ sacrifices and efforts during the pandemic. Instead, they have pushed workers to the brink with no choice but to pursue legal industrial action to break the impasse before the Christmas surge in demand,” he said.
Last week, a Senate Inquiry into job security heard from a StarTrack employee that some labour hire workers on visas claim to be engaged through ABNs and paid a flat rate of $25 an hour, amounting to illegal sham contracting. The company claims an investigation looked at a handful of payslips, failing to address the issue associated with visa-holders.
On Thursday, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher – who oversees Australia Post which owns StarTrack – declined an invitation from the TWU to meet StarTrack workers. The Minister did not respond to the delay tactics, intimidation of workers and possible adverse action at StarTrack outlined in the TWU’s letter.
Linfox committed to working with the union to push for industry reform including the establishment of a tribunal. The in-principle agreement locks in protections including caps on outsourcing, prioritising employees for all available hours and a pathway to direct employment for labour hire workers.
TWU Assistant National Secretary and lead Linfox negotiator Nick McIntosh said workers have achieved an impressive U-turn throughout six months of talks.
“TWU members successfully fought off attacks to their jobs which would have seen a second-tier workforce brought in on less money, and reached an industry-leading agreement which enhances job security protections and rewards workers for their efforts. We now invite other transport companies to stand shoulder to shoulder with us and Linfox in calling for regulatory solutions to the ‘Amazon Effect’ crushing supply chains,” he said.
TWU NSW/QLD Secretary Richard Olsen, lead negotiator for Toll and Global Express, said it is pleasing to see a positive outcome following a turbulent period as the Toll business was carved up and half sold off.
“This is a heartening moment and a story of triumph which proves the importance of unions and collective action. Question marks over the future have hung over Toll and Global Express workers throughout the division and sale of business. Only by standing together were workers able to achieve strong outcomes at each company and industry-first 15% superannuation. We commend every TWU member for their might, unity and resilience,” he said.
The in-principle agreements reached by rank-and-file negotiating committees are subject to endorsement by delegates followed by member votes.
- In June, FedEx reported record revenues at US$84 billion and net income over US$5 billion.
- In August, Australia Post reported record revenues to $8.27 billion and a profit before tax of $100.7 million. StarTrack is the group’s most profitable arm with volumes up 12.1% in the last year.
- Australia Post paid $28.2 million worth of bonuses to 345 employees on incomes over $200,000 in the 2019-20 financial year.
- In July, Amazon and Apple – key clients of StarTrack and FedEx – reported profits had roughly doubled compared to the previous year.
- Amazon’s profit rose by more than 100% in the first half of 2021 to US$15.89 billion.
- Apple’s June-quarter profits increased 93% to US$21.7 billion.
- Last week, ten people were killed in truck crashes in Australia, including two truck drivers.