Around 7,000 Toll transport workers across the country began a 24 hour strike at midnight calling on the transport operator to abandon plans which would see work outsourced to a lower paid, insecure workforce.
After months of failed talks, including last-ditch crisis talks between the TWU and Toll yesterday afternoon, going on strike is the last resort option for workers to fight for job security.
Toll’s proposed workplace agreement threatens existing jobs by creating a legacy workforce and an underclass of new workers on worse conditions. Toll’s plans include short-term contracts, incentives and rights for Toll to outsource swathes of work and no commitments to allocate work to employees before contracting out to lower-paid workers.
With a rise of exploitative transport businesses like AmazonFlex and Uber, and cost-cutting from mega-wealthy retail giants like Amazon, Apple and Aldi, the attacks on transport jobs are sweeping across all the major transport operators. There are now 15,000 transport workers at various stages of strike applications, votes and action.
The TWU says regulation is the answer, and is calling on the Federal Government to urgently implement the recommendations of a Senate report tabled last night. The report called for “an independent body” to “set universal, binding standards” in transport supply chains.
“Anyone who believes this is not the time to strike, we agree with you. Transport workers should be working hard today, not sacrificing a day’s wage to try and make sure they still have a job in a few weeks. This attack on workers is inexcusable at any time, but to do so when transport workers have made sacrifices and taken risks during a pandemic to meet exceptional demand is shocking.
“Regulation for Australia’s deadliest industry is a national priority. We implore the Federal Government to break its silence and announce a regulatory body to put an end to the crisis of cost-cutting in transport supply chains as recommended by a Senate report this week.
“More than 200 truck drivers and almost 1000 people have been killed in truck crashes in the last five years. Deaths will rise exponentially if safe, reliable transport jobs are outsourced to sweated drivers on the lowest cost contracts. The Federal Government must put out the blaze before it becomes an inferno,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
Strike action will not impact vaccines or medical supplies, as confirmed in writing by the TWU to Toll last month.