More truckers brace for strikes amid overwhelming pressure on transport jobs
The trucking crisis has worsened as thousands more transportation workers prepare to push back attacks on their jobs with strike demands at Linfox and Bevchain. The company’s proposals echo those from Toll, StarTrack and FedEx that would allow labor outsourcing and introduce a lower paid and insecure workforce.
There are now more than 15,000 truck drivers heading for strikes after talks between TWU members and five major transport companies break down due to pressure from transport operators to hire lower paid workers and insecure. The attack on jobs comes amid overwhelming pressure to cut tariffs for wealthy retailers, manufacturers and oil companies, as well as the competitive threat of Uber-style exploitation at AmazonFlex.
Today, the Fair Work Commission will receive applications from workers at Linfox and Bevchain to organize votes and take industrial action if companies refuse to abandon their threats to job security. This would involve more than 2,000 workers in the food and alcohol supply chains served by Linfox and Bevchain.
A 24-hour strike involving 7,000 Toll workers is slated for Friday after the company refused calls from TWU to drop a proposal that would decimate good permanent jobs by hiring new employees on precarious and short-term contracts and low-wage external hires. On Tuesday, 2,000 StarTrack employees began voting to take action, while a poll for 4,000 FedEx employees opens next week.
A critical conflict at both Linfox and Bevchain is the proposed introduction of a second-class workforce with lower wages and conditions that would ultimately cut the jobs of current workers. Toll withdrew a similar proposal after workers voted 94% in favor of strikes. Other attacks on wages at Linfox and Bevchain include shift changes and a refusal to assign work to permanent employees before hiring outside.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said transportation workers are doing all they can to fight for good, secure jobs while the federal government remains silent.
“Transport workers are doing the right thing. It takes courage to stand up to your employer and strength to quit work, but they know they have no choice. If transport companies go ahead and flood truck fleets with low-paid, stressed and insecure workers, it will wipe out good, secure jobs in Australia’s deadliest industry.
“While the federal government remains a quiet spectator, transportation workers are exercising their imperfect industrial rights to try to stop supply chains from imploding.
“Transport is facing a tsunami of underemployment. Wealthy retailers, manufacturers and oil companies are making literally billions while reducing the costs of moving their goods across the country. The impact of this has been an undercurrent in transportation for years, and now a deadly swell has arrived.
“Transportation companies are under pressure from constant pricing pressure from Amazon and Aldi, but rather than face cost cutting to ensure the work can be done safely and sustainably.” , they return the responsibility to the workers through attempts. replacing decent jobs with a precarious workforce.
“It is no coincidence that workers in several large transport companies face the same attacks. This should be a wake-up call to the federal government about the trucking crisis that workers believed was happening, ”he said.
Retailers around the world have exploded since the pandemic hit, with Amazon reporting profits up 224% to $ 8 billion in the last quarter alone. Apple said its profits more than doubled to $ 23.6 billion, while Aldi’s annual revenue in 2019 was $ 109 billion.
The TWU has filed claims against 50 retailers operating in Australia, demanding that they lift standards to ensure fairness and safety in transport.
Five years ago, the federal government overturned an independent tribunal that was investigating road transport safety risks caused by financial cuts to transport by wealthy retailers like Amazon and Aldi. Since then, 205 truckers have been killed.