Winning The Fight And Looking To The Future
Editorial by TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen
It was great to address our delegates’ conference last month, and share the good news we’ve had over the last year. Here in NSW, the TWU has faced great challenges, as we continue to defend the rights of workers in the face of greed. We have fought these challenges, with all our might, every step of the way, and I’m proud to say that we are winning. We could not do this without the immense work of all our members, and I thank you for that.
We have seen great progress across each of the industries we represent, due to the heavy lifting of members like you, and in particular have made great strides with the majors negotiations.
For TNT members, the national negotiation committee worked very hard for an in-principle agreement including a range of strong clauses which ensure additional rights and conditions and include increases in both pay and superannuation.
Toll, under new CEO Michael Byrne, did everything it could to throw negotiations off course. They tried sell a cheap story of struggle in the company’s fortunes, refusing a pay or superannuation increase for the life of the agreement being negotiated.
They sought trade-offs which would let them yank away weekend penalty rates, remove dispute resolution clauses and remove a number of basic protections.
After five rounds of negotiations, a protected action ballot, and members’ yard meetings, they relented.
We have negotiated a great deal, including new wage increases, more overtime, higher superannuation, job security for casual employees and a strong commitment by the company to consult with workers.
Bargaining with CEVA on a new enterprise agreement is now underway. CEVA is another company suddenly crying poor, and has put forth a draft proposal that falls well short of our log of claims. Our demands include ending the war on casuals, creation of secure and permanent employment, and providing for increases in superannuation.
We are also soon to enter into bargaining with StarTrack and Linfox, and we continue to adopt a higher focus on national issues, where we are already leaders.
For all majors, we are moving towards our goal of achieving improved employer superannuation contributions by 2020.
Over the past year we have successfully prevented attempts by the NSW Government and others like NatRoad to attack Chapter Six of the NSW Industrial Relations Act. This piece of legislation allows owner-drivers the same rights as employees, such as access to dispute resolution in the Industrial Relations Commission. It also offers protection to those in the taxi industry. This has further proven the irrelevance of NatRoad and its inability to properly represent its own members. The NSW Industrial Relations Commission even told
NatRoad to go away in response to its erroneous attempt to become a registered representative employer organisation.
Wage theft is criminally rampant across our yards and industries. Since January of this year, our Members’ Service Centre has clawed back around $404,000 of underpayments for our members, and our Legal Team has fought for and won back $350,000 of underpayments.
I am absolutely thrilled by the great work you and all our members have done in these fights, and optimistic for the future fights ahead of us.