TWU slams StarTrack on Covid strike tactic

The Transport Workers Union says StarTrack management is exploiting the Covid crisis to try and block transport workers from taking industrial action

TWU slams StarTrack on Covid strike tactic

The TWU says StarTrack management is exploiting the covid crisis in an attempt to block transport workers from taking lawful industrial action to fight for job security guarantees.

On Sunday evening, StarTrack made an application to the Fair Work Commission to stop the 24-hour strike planned for Thursday 23 September, claiming that it would interrupt the transportation of medical supplies and vaccines. A hearing has been scheduled for 10am Wednesday, with the strike due to begin after midnight that night.

The TWU says it has a long history of taking responsible industrial action, including the recent Toll strike, which backs up the guarantees made to StarTrack that medical supplies and vaccines are, now and always, exempted from strike action. 

The TWU has provided an undertaking to StarTrack and requested detail as to which yards and workers are involved in the transport of vaccines and medical supplies to ensure those union members do not participate in the strike. 

In August, StarTrack failed to convince the Fair Work Commission to block a protected action ballot. At no point during those hearings did StarTrack raise any concerns regarding vaccines or medical supplies.

"StarTrack is taking tips right out of the Qantas playbook, attempting to exploit the cloak of covid to ramp up outsourcing and prevent workers exercising their rights to lock in guarantees for their job security, pay and conditions. This is a contemptable stunt to mislead and intimidate workers from a company which knows full well that vaccines and medical supplies are, and always have been, exempted from any TWU industrial action," says TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.

"No one wants strike action to take place, especially the workers who value their important jobs and will lose a day’s pay. After months of StarTrack refusing workers’ requests for job security guarantees, TWU members have had no choice but to follow all steps under the Fair Work Act to go on strike. They simply cannot sign a shoddy workplace agreement and give permission for their jobs to be contracted out. 

"Thursday can be a day of parcel disruption, or it can be business as usual with a satisfied workforce whose jobs are secure. That choice sits with StarTrack, and we implore management to make the right call.

"The Federal Government is failing workers and the Australian community on two counts. Once by allowing government-owned Australia Post to attack its workforce, and again by failing to regulate the transport industry to set appropriate, binding standards and do away with sham contracting once and for all."

Last week, the TWU says StarTrack called the police to attempt to block a union official from lawfully entering the site to undertake a safety investigation.

The TWU recently launched legal action against StarTrack and labour hire company APS Transport over the sacking of a worker undergoing breast cancer treatment after she questioned a pay cut.

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