The union for Australian truck drivers is threatening strike action after talks with major logistics company Toll Group broke down on 14 July.
The transport workers union will file an application with the Industrial Relations Tribunal, the Fair Work Commission, to determine whether the 7,000 drivers nationwide will go on strike.
TWU claims that such a strike would “paralyze the supply of food and fuel across Australia.”
The new proposed agreement comes as Toll finalizes the sale of its global express business to fund manager Allegro.
TWU is critical of the agreement, claiming that its focus is on “reduction in pay and terms,” so the company can afford to win contracts from major retailers with lower rates.
The union claims that all new drivers will be employed as part-time workers at rates just above the minimum reward and retirement balance at the national standard of 10 percent. It also claims that part-time workers will lose overtime eligibility with the new agreement proposing to work 38 additional hours at no penalty rate.
“This is a humiliating attack on the jobs of hardworking truck drivers. Over the past year, truckers worked harder than ever and delayed negotiations to assist with tolls, while impacting the economy. TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said in a statement. “During that time, profits have skyrocketed for the wealthy customers whose freight drivers are transporting.”
In response, a Toll spokesperson told The Epoch Times that the company was “disappointed” by TWU’s action, and that it would continue to consult with union representatives.
“Toll transportation workers enjoy industry-leading pay and conditions. Australians who have already endured supply chain disruptions due to COVID will find any action that deliberately causes further uncertainty, which is very difficult to fathom,” he said.
“We will continue to engage in constructive discussions to resolve the remaining points of the agreement to avoid unnecessary disruption to the Australian people.”
The new agreement from Toll guarantees most of the existing wages and conditions for workers as its Global Express business moves to Allegro, with a one-time lump sum of $750 and wage increases of 1.5 percent in 2021 and 1.75 percent in 2022. growth is included. As a result, the Consumer Price Index rose 1.1 percent for the 12 months up to March 2021.
The current retirement rate at 14.75 per cent will also be preserved.
In addition, Toll is looking to expand into the eCommerce and business-to-consumer sectors — which have seen considerable growth in recent years — to compete with casual delivery services like AmazonFlex.
It is in this segment that Toll will offer new drivers a different pay structure from the existing logistics business, including 10 percent higher than award pay, as well as 10 percent retirement.