TWU and Toll head to court over ballot

TWU wants Federal Court to penalise Toll after some workers were excluded from a recent vote on industrial action

August 30, 2013

Toll and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) are heading to court over accusations the company’s actions led to workers being excluded from a vote on industrial action.

Toll employees earlier this month voted to take industrial action in pursuit of reaching a new enterprise bargaining agreement with the transport and logistics firm.

The TWU claims more than 170 Toll workers missed out on having their say because the electoral list Toll supplied to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), which conducted the ballot, was not complete, up-to-date or accurate.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon says Toll "has disrespected its workers" and that the union wants the Federal Court to impose a financial penalty on the company for not providing accurate information.

"It quickly became clear that hundreds of workers were deemed ineligible to vote, because they had been left off the list of eligible workers that Toll supplied to the AEC. Many of these workers have been with Toll for decades and voted on previous agreements," Sheldon says.

"We are concerned that the exclusion of these workers was not just an administrative oversight and that’s why we have lodged federal proceedings on this matter."

The union says, in one instance, about 30 people at Toll’s Moorebank site in western Sydney were excluded, despite being eligible to vote on the previous enterprise agreement in 2010.

"Quite frankly, there is no good reason for these workers to be excluded from this ballot," Sheldon says.

"It’s always been our intention to reach an agreement with the company that all of our members can vote on, but this kind of behaviour and deliberate disenfranchisement only makes that more difficult."

A majority of Toll employees who took part in the ballot voted in favour of industrial action.

Toll and the TWU have been in negotiations on an agreement since April, but both parties have been unable to reach a compromise on a number of issues ranging from superannuation, wage increases, site rates and the coverage of the agreement.

The ballot sought support for indefinite work stoppages and bans on overtime, paperwork and higher duties.

SupplyChain Review's sister title ATN has contacted Toll for comment and is awaiting a response.

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