United Parcel Service Pty Ltd (UPS) workers are pursuing their right to strike as the company’s refusal to negotiate a fair agreement places their livelihood in jeopardy, according to acting national secretary of the Transport Workers Union Michael Kaine.
“The TWU represents hundreds of UPS employees along the eastern seaboard inNew South Wales,QueenslandandVictoria, and thousands of members working for TNT across the country,” Mr Kaine said.
“Since the $6.4 billion dollar merger between the two delivery giants was announced in March, TWU workplace representatives have been negotiating for an agreement that reflects the substantially different circumstances in which existing UPS employees now find themselves.
“Drivers at TNT are well aware of the danger of insecure work and the need for a strong agreement on wage conditions and job security. In 2011, after months of negotiations and protected action, the TNT workforce won improved job security protections and wage and redundancy provisions.
“Ensuring site rates for labour hire employees is vital to the job security of both UPS and TNT employees. After this merger, the company will be able to engage workers under either agreement. If this provision is not agreed upon, then essentially the company could engage Labour Hire through the UPS agreement and undercut rates of the entire workforce.
“The merger will see UPS and TNT drivers working side by side, in the same yards and for the same company. As a result of the current, widely differing terms of employment and redundancy, our members are fearful that any future redundancies in the transportation giant will fall disproportionately on the existing UPS workforce.
“What UPS employees are asking for is an agreement which will secure their jobs on decent wages and conditions without the threat of redundancy. They deserve to be treated with the same respect as TNT employees working beside them. Better redundancy and wage provisions will protect UPS jobs throughout the merger and in the future.
“Another key issue for the UPS workforce is to agree to a common expiry date for the UPS and TNT agreements so workplace representatives can negotiate a common agreement for everyone working in the merged TNT-UPS company. Whether you wear a UPS uniform or drive a TNT truck, you should be covered by the same agreement – that’s fair,” Mr Kaine said.
“On 16 July, if the ballot returns show that UPS workers want to pursue their right to strike against the existing threat of insecure work, the TWU will offer its full strength to our members in their fight for a fair deal.”