Hey Woolworths, we're coming: TWU

TWU NSW plans on scoring "big wins" for workers at a Woolworths-owned DC after the union was granted entry rights

December 9, 2011

The Transport Workers Union is eyeing "some big wins" for workers at a Woolworths-owned distribution centre after it was handed permission to enter the site.

Days after Fair Work Australia overturned a ban preventing the NSW TWU from entering the site of Woolworths subsidiary Queensland Properties Investment, the union is planning to begin organising and representing the workers.

NSW TWU Secretary Wayne Forno fired off a missive to his membership today calling Fair Work’s decision "sound and just".

"Now the workers at QPI can be fairly and honestly represented and I look forward to the Union going out there and getting some big wins for our new members," Forno writes.

In the original matter in January this year, QPI argued the union had no right to enter the Minchinbury site because it was not directly engaged in the transport industry.

QPI did not hire any truck drivers or operate its prime movers, instead outsourcing most of the duties to Toll.

However, the TWU this week successfully argued it was eligible to represent QPI workers because they loaded and unloaded the trucks accessing the distribution centre, which warehouses supermarket goods.

"Our arguments as to why these workers should be covered [by] the TWU were honest and logical and it’s that kind of argument that gets results," Forno writes.

QPI and the TWU must now reach an agreement on the extent of the union’s coverage.

Fair Work says the TWU should have access to forklift drivers, dispatchers, freight forwarders and loaders but that there may be other employees who might be entitled to representation.

The full bench upheld QPI’s request for a definition on the employees, or classes of employees, to be covered.

"This is because a simple expression of opinion of occupational coverage of some employees, without identifying the employees or classes so covered, is likely to increase, rather than resolve, disputation," the full bench ruled.

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