NUW-Toll battle headed for FWA again

Toll will pursue its push for an all-staff vote on an enterprise bargaining agreement

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | July 18, 2012

Toll will pursue its push for an all-staff vote on an enterprise bargaining agreement in what is the latest move in the company’s battle with the National Union of Workers (NUW).

Toll is appealing Fair Work Australia’s decision last week to stop an all-staff ballot from being conducted.

Toll spokesman Christopher Whitefield says the company wants to hear from employees rather than just members of the National Union of Workers (NUW).

"The union’s refusal to put our offer to the whole workforce, including non-union members, suggests a lack of confidence in their support base. We know the offer we have put forward provides a competitive combination of wages and conditions," Whitefield says.

Toll workers are striking outside the Coles-owned warehouse in Melbourne.

The supermarket has outsourced the running of the site to Toll, and the NUW wants Toll staff to receive the same entitlements as Coles employees at other warehouses receive.

"We are appealing the Fair Work decision to ensure an all-staff vote on the offer conducted by the [Australian] Electoral Commission happens as soon as possible," Whitefield says.

"This will determine what all of our employees think of the offer rather than letting a select few union members decide."

Whitefield says less than half of the 600 employees striking voted to endorse industrial action.

Toll has met with the NUW to discuss work conditions. The Supreme Court of Victoria ordered the union to stop picketing the site that prevented trucks and personnel from entering and leaving the area.

"We call on the leadership of the NUW to take ultimate responsibility to ensure the blockade is removed," Whitefield says.

"We now know there are hundreds of employees who just want to get back to work, so our priority is to continue to work with police to make sure all necessary steps are taken to ensure this happens as soon as possible."

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