TWU demands threaten competitiveness: Toll

Toll's promise of 15 percent wage increase over four years and 12.25 percent superannuation contributions not enough to satisfy TWU

TWU demands threaten competitiveness: Toll
TWU demands threaten competitiveness: Toll
By Brad Gardner | July 10, 2013

Toll has signalled it will not give in to the Transport Workers Union’s (TWU) demands on wages and conditions, warning that doing so will threaten the company’s competitiveness.

As the TWU prepares to ballot thousands of Toll workers across the country on industrial action, Toll has highlighted the current economic climate as a key reason why it does not support the union’s demands.

The TWU wants annual 4 percent pay increases for the life of the agreement and for superannuation contributions to reach 15 percent. It is also pursuing site rates and for the enterprise agreement to apply to new business units on the basis both measures are necessary to guarantee job security.

The union has snubbed a Toll offer of 15 percent pay increases over a four-year agreement and a commitment from the company to increase superannuation contributions to 12.25 percent.

"Implementing union-imposed conditions that make Toll uncompetitive in the current economic environment would be the biggest threat to job security," Toll spokesman Christopher Whitefield says.

ATN understands Toll has also pledged to convert at least 300 casual jobs to permanent in the first year of the agreement and to introduce a new entitlement giving employees up to three days of leave at base rates to deal with the effects of natural disasters.

Furthermore, it has also committed to auditing the books of its contractors to ensure they meet safety and employment standards.

A notice circulated to Toll staff from General Manager of Industrial Relations Tony Wilks urges employees to encourage the union to accept Toll’s offer and put it to a vote.

"We want to continue to provide industry-leading wages and conditions, but we must also ensure we can provide long term job security for employees," he writes.

"The number one risk to job security at Toll is the continually growing gap between the industry-leading wages and superannuation we pay compared to our competitors."

Wilks also uses the notice to contest the TWU’s claims that the absence of site rates undermines the jobs of Toll workers.

"No Toll employee has lost their job because of the coverage and site rate issues being pursued by the union," he says.

The Fair Work Commission yesterday gave the TWU the approval to ask Toll employees if they support indefinite stoppages to secure a new enterprise agreement.

Around 8,500 employees will be asked if they support stoppages of all work for specified periods of between one and 72 hours, along with bans on overtime, paperwork, higher duties, call backs and working with contractors.

A vote must be held by August 6.

The TWU claims it applied for the ballot after talks with Toll management broke down. However, Whitefield says talks are continuing over three days this week.

"We are extremely disappointed the union has taken this action, especially considering negotiations between Toll and the union are continuing," he says.

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