At the TWU we have worked over previous bargaining periods to align our major road transport bargains to expire at the same time. Despite the restrictive nature of the current bargaining system, this creates the opportunity to tackle local, company and industry issues through the negotiation cycle and campaign multiple stakeholders at the same time.
The transport industry has been hit hard in the last 20 years by fragmentation and stretched supply chains. Economic employers (clients) at the top of the supply chain are price setters with transport operators being price takers. This is leading to worsening safety outcomes and increased insecurity for transport workers. With new entrants like Amazon Flex and Uber Freight, the threat to decent transport jobs has never been more real.
The Safe Rates campaign has been about tackling the fragmentation and its impacts. Our campaign is a multi-pronged approach fighting for regulation, binding arrangements with economic employers, robust enterprise agreements that protect and promote job security and rights and protections for owner operators.
In this bargaining cycle, the argument for job security is crystal clear for workers. Whether it is because of the threat the Amazon model poses to their jobs; watching work be lost to outside hire; being told to accept sub-par rates and conditions or risk losing a contact; overtime being lost to casual and labour hire staff or, for those members who have no choice but to take that insecure poorly paid and less safe job; the fight for job security resonates and it unites our membership.
Transport workers have kept Australia moving through a global pandemic. Transport companies and their clients have made huge profits. If we don’t have this fight now, then when? We won’t sign a permission slip to outsource jobs. If you are doing the same job, you deserve the same pay.