May 21, 2019


The move will involve using the power of 200 enterprise agreements across road transport and aviation that workers have aligned to expire in 2020. The aim is to maximise the effects of action taken by workers across the transport sectors.


The agreements, negotiated over the past five years, cover 38,000 workers directly.


The announcement will be made by TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine today at the union’s National Council in Cairns.


“Over the next year we will launch the most concerted push in our Union’s history to bolster our bargaining power and put safety and fairness at the heart of our industry. Workers will unite right across the airports and road transport industries,” he will say in a speech to the union’s leadership among the rank-and-file and elected officials.


“Baggage handlers, cabin crew, waste workers, oil tanker drivers, concrete drivers, tippers, drivers in the retail supply chain, drivers of armoured cash vans and others will come together and take action…. Transport workers will demand sector-wide safe and fair outcomes from wealthy companies at the top of the transport supply chain, the point of economic power. We will demand the lifting of standards. We will demand secure work,” Kaine will say.


He will add: “And yes we will strike to achieve our aims.”


This week the union will serve claims on the major airports, including at Sydney Airport’s annual general meeting and during a meeting between the union and Brisbane Airport.


Claims will also be served at later dates on companies in the road transport supply chain, with safety a critical component. Three years ago, the Federal Government tore down a watchdog investigating safety and fairness in trucking. Since then 574 people have died in truck crashes while 1,101 transport businesses have become insolvent.


As part of its plan for reform, the union is demanding a system of Safe Rates, which would include a watchdog to hold wealthy retailers, manufacturers, oil companies and banks to account for pressure on transport to cut safety corners.


“Just because this Government has been returned on a tight margin, doesn’t change the fact that it has blood on its hands. It has the blood of the drivers, the fathers, the brothers, the mothers, the sisters, the children among those killed needlessly and indiscriminately,” he will say.


Kaine will call for transport to be made safer and fairer, adding: “What it requires is industry-wide standards. It demands safe rates of pay and conditions for every worker, every time. It means transport companies winning contracts because they prove they are a safe, responsible operator – not because they undercut their rivals.”


The TWU wants Safe Rates legislation to ensure regulation to lift standards for companies already operating in Australia and market entrants such as Amazon and Uber, which are aiming to drag rates, conditions and safety down further.


“Amazon and Uber are a moment of reckoning for Australia. Their terrifying swagger and influence is concentrating minds and showcasing a world where giants of industry in this country will be reduced to mere minnows. Retailers and the transport operators know this threat is already here. This is why we have been successful in convincing these industries of the need for a system of Safe Rates, to lift standards but to also ensure that Australian industry has a future,” Kaine will say.

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