Up to 2000 Transport Workers' Union (TWU) members at StarTrack went on strike for 24 hours on September 23 to protect jobs and win job security guarantees. About 70% of the total workforce took part, reflecting the overwhelming support from TWU members.
The strike at StarTrack, which is wholly owned by Australia Post, caused delays in parcel deliveries around the country. Australia Post claimed that only 750 workers took action, but then admitted that there had been substantial hold-ups to parcel deliveries.
The TWU is pushing for equal pay and conditions for labour-hire workers, caps on lower-paid outside hire contractors and for work to be offered to permanent employees ahead of labour-hire workers. Outsourcing is as high as 70% on some StarTrack sites, the union said.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine accused StarTrack of misrepresenting the scale of the protests, saying the union’s delegates had seen members stopping work in droves.
Kaine also said that if StarTrack had been concerned about the strike’s impact on the delivery of vaccines or medical supplies, “it would have worked cooperatively with the union to ensure provisions could be made”. “Instead of undermining workers’ voices in the media, StarTrack management should listen to them, get back to the bargaining table and guarantee good, secure and reliable jobs.”
The union said Australia Post recently reported record revenues of $8.27 billion and a profit before tax of $100.7 million. StarTrack is the group’s most profitable arm, with volumes up by 12.1% in the last year.
Job security is a big issue in the transport industry; workers at FedEx, Linfox and Bevchain have all voted recently to take strike action.
[You can sign the TWU’s petition to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to regulate the industry and ensure safe pay and conditions for truckies here.]