Workers at transport delivery company StarTrack, owned by Australia Post, voted on September 10 to take strike action if the company keeps refusing to guarantee their job security.
They want equal pay and conditions for labour hire workers, caps on lower-paid outside hire contractors and for work to be offered to permanent employees first.
Under the Fair Work Act, the 90% vote by around 2000 Transport Workers' Union (TWU) members gives them legal protection to go on strike.
StarTrack’s outsourcing of work has reached 70% of its total workforce in South Australia, and 50% in Queensland and Canberra. Just one in eight airfreight service workers in Western Australia is a direct employee.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine congratulated StarTrack workers for their stand, saying on September 10 that they had “no choice but to fight for their jobs”.
The TWU wants the federal government to urgently implement the recommendation of a Senate Rural Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee report, tabled on August 25, that an independent body set universal, binding road transport standards.
Such regulation would eliminate the exploitative AmazonFlex and Uber gig economy model in which transport operators are pressured to slash workers’ pay and conditions.
“Transport has become a boom and bust industry”, Kaine said on September 10. “While demand has surged, good, secure jobs are in steep decline under pressure from unregulated, exploitative business models.” He said a regulatory body setting minimum, binding standards in transport would protect workers, businesses and the economy.
The TWU is continuing to negotiate workplace agreements at several major transport operators, including Linfox, Bevchain and FedEx.