Up to 3,000 FedEx workers nationwide are striking today after the record revenue-making company refused to guarantee secure transport jobs won’t be outsourced. The action comes off the back of a resounding 97% yes vote to strikes from workers at the company.
Yesterday, crisis talks broke down when management refused job security demands, including caps on outside hire and for work to be allocated to existing employees before contracting out. Management also rejected a request from workers for another bargaining meeting next week.
Contracting out at FedEx is causing an insecure work crisis, with company information showing that some owner drivers are currently paid around 25% less to do the same work as employees. These lower paid drivers now make up two thirds of all owner drivers engaged by FedEx.
At the same time as secure transport jobs are under attack, FedEx has reported record profits with revenues jumping to US$84 billion and net income over US$5 billion last year.
Job security guarantees are being sought by thousands of workers at major transport operators to defend against a push to compete with exploitative business models like Amazon Flex by slashing labour costs and outsourcing work.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said transport workers shouldn’t have been put in the position of choosing between strikes and accepting a shoddy deal from FedEx management.
“Strikes are always a last resort, but FedEx workers have no choice when outsourcing is running rampant in the industry, and the company is refusing to guarantee secure jobs won’t be shipped out next.
“FedEx made enormous profits last year off the back of workers who sweated it out in depots and trucks to keep parcels moving. This industry-wide assault on good jobs and secure conditions is pushing workers to the brink, but transport workers at FedEx are bravely fighting back today because they deserve better.
“Workers are forced to take a stand because the Federal Government hasn’t. Scott Morrison is MIA as supply chains are being crippled by a deadly squeeze from wealthy retailers like Amazon, and companies are cutting costs to compete with gig services like the exploitative Amazon Flex. The Prime Minister could end this race to the bottom by acting on Senate recommendations to create an independent tribunal to enforce minimum protections for workers in transport”.
Yesterday, workers who held a job security strike at Toll before being transferred to new ownership at Global Express applied for a vote on further strike action after sustained refusal from management to provide job security guarantees.
Recent ballots of transport workers have resulted in minimum 90% yes votes for strikes across Toll, StarTrack, FedEx Linfox and Bevchain. Negotiations are ongoing, with meetings taking place at Linfox today and tomorrow. StarTrack workers are yet to receive confirmation from management of a negotiation meeting to take place next week.