Seven thousand Transport Workers Union (TWU) delivery drivers took 24-hour strike action on August 27 after talks between the union and Toll collapsed.
The company is refusing to provide job security and abandon plans to hire lower-paid contractors and labour hire drivers. It has also refused the union’s request for a 3% wage rise, offering just 2%.
The TWU said more than 15,000 members could go on strike if talks between it and five major transport companies collapse over wages and conditions. Drivers employed by Linfox and Bevchain have applied to the Fair Work Commission for a protected industrial action ballot.
TWU members held picket lines outside Toll distribution warehouses across the country. They said workers and their families had made enormous sacrifices to keep supplies going during the pandemic over the last year.
TWU Western Australian state secretary Tim Dawson addressed picketers at Toll’s Perth warehouse in Kewdale. “We are here because Toll has been unreasonable. The reason they are unreasonable is because they want to undermine your wages and conditions.
“That is why they have refused to put in their EBA [enterprise agreement] an outsourcing clause that guarantees any outsourced job will be paid at Toll rates.”
He said the union would “bring Toll to their knees … before this agreement is signed”.
Will Tracey, Maritime Union of Australia WA secretary, gave the strikers credit for taking action for their claims. He also spoke about his union’s dispute at the Qube facility in Fremantle, now entering its fifth week after the company has refused for 15 months to implement health and safety provisions.
“We are going to see more of these stoppages, because employers are using COVID-19 opportunistically to strip back wages and conditions,” Tracey said.
TWU Toll workers also received solidarity from the Construction Forestry Mining Maritime and Energy Union, the Electrical Trades Union, the Australian Workers' Union, the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association and the State School Teachers' Union of WA.