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Transport Union Strike Could Spell Havoc For Retail

The Transport Workers Union is threatening to take strike action in protest at transport company Toll, who are planning to lower working wages, and reduce benefits like super and overtime rates.

Toll, who is in the process of selling its global express business to equity fund Allegro, is proposing new employees be paid at a lower rate: 10 per cent above the award, as well as 10 per cent super. It also wants part-time workers to clock up 38 extra hours a week before they qualify for overtime rates.

Existing full-time workers are covered under this plan – earning an average of $95,000 a year, with a super rate of 14.75 per cent — but the union fears this could lead to these workers being denied access to overtime pay, calling it a “direct attack on their jobs.”

This move comes as the company plans to bolster its e-commerce presence.

The proposed union action will include 24-hour strikes and “unlimited stoppages.” This will cause havoc to the already crippled retail sector, who heavily rely on Toll deliveries to maintain and move stock across the country.

“For current drivers, who have spent decades building high standards at Toll through decent conditions, this is a direct attack on their jobs and will result in them being pushed out or forced onto far worse conditions,” TWU NSW branch secretary and lead Toll negotiator Richard Olsen, said.

A Toll spokeswoman blames the union for any forthcoming disruptions to supply chains.

“Toll transport workers enjoy industry-leading pay and conditions,” she said. “Australians who have already endured supply chain disruptions because of Covid-19 will find any action that deliberately causes further uncertainty very hard to fathom.

“We will continue to engage in constructive discussions to resolve the remaining points of agreement to avoid unnecessary disruption to Australians.”

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