National startrack strikes tomorrow as bevchain reaches deal & fedex action paused

Transport Workers' Union

StarTrack remains the only transport company facing national 24-hour strikes from midnight tonight after it refused several requests to meet with worker representatives and present them with an enterprise agreement offer.

Yesterday, BevChain workers secured a strong in-principle deal while FedEx workers agreed to suspend strikes until next week to facilitate further talks.

BevChain workers achieved job security protections akin to those agreed to by Linfox, including caps on outsourcing, prioritisation of employees for all available hours and improvements to auditing and consultation.

Although TWU members have pushed StarTrack and FedEx management to move closer to finalising agreements, no deals have been reached. These have proven to be outlier companies after in-principle agreements were achieved at Toll, Linfox, Global Express, ACFS, Ceva and BevChain over the last two weeks.

At crisis talks on Thursday, FedEx workers are calling on the company to bring a reasonable solution to the table which repays their restraint during the pandemic and locks in iron-clad job security provisions.

Since the national StarTrack enterprise agreement expired in December 2020, the company has unceasingly attempted to delay bargaining for a new agreement. In February, workers petitioned the company so that it would commence negotiations.

StarTrack’s refusal to meet echoes the response from Communications Minister Paul Fletcher who last week declined an invitation to hear from StarTrack workers about the mistreatment they’ve experienced.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said workers have had to drag StarTrack management kicking and screaming to the table since negotiations were due to commence in January.

“StarTrack has always been playing a long game – the longer the better as far as the company is concerned. It’s a tactical play designed to stretch out the period between enterprise agreements to avoid repaying hard work. The longer this is drawn out, the more StarTrack pockets.

“Workers won’t allow their families’ futures to be held to ransom. As December looms, StarTrack expects workers to step up for an enormous Christmas period without certainty over their jobs, pay or conditions. That is no way to thank the workers who have generated record revenues while being attacked by their employer.

“Six major transport companies have provided decent proposals. All that is left is an ideological battle from a government-owned company and an international union-busting giant. The Federal Government should be ashamed. Transport workers are the lifeblood of this country. They should be supported in their fight for fairness and receive the regulatory solutions needed to eradicate the ‘Amazon Effect’ crushing Australia’s deadliest industry,” he said.

Over the last 10 months of negotiations, StarTrack management has engaged in appalling conduct, including:

  • delay tactics and intimidation of union members;
  • suspected adverse action against workers taking part in legal strikes;
  • sacking a labour hire worker undergoing breast cancer treatment after she questioned a pay cut;
  • failing to adequately investigate claims of illegal sham contracting; and
  • attempting to block union officials’ legal rights to enter sites and hear workers’ concerns.

Notes:

  • In August, Australia Post reported record revenues to $8.27 billion and a profit before tax of $100.7 million. StarTrack is the group’s most profitable arm with volumes up 12.1% in the last year.
  • Australia Post paid $28.2 million worth of bonuses to 345 employees on incomes over $200,000 in the 2019-20 financial year.
  • In June, FedEx reported record revenues at US$84 billion and net income over US$5 billion.
  • In July, Amazon and Apple – key clients of StarTrack and FedEx – reported profits had roughly doubled compared to the previous year.
  • Amazon’s profit rose by more than 100% in the first half of 2021 to US$15.89 billion.
  • Apple’s June-quarter profits increased 93% to US$21.7 billion.
  • Last week, ten people were killed in truck crashes in Australia, including two truck drivers.

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