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Toll workers vote to strike

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August 27, 2013

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has secured a vital bargaining chip in its negotiations with Toll on a new enterprise agreement, with workers voting overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

The Australian Electoral Commission reported 85 per cent of Toll workers who cast a vote supported indefinite work stoppages and bans on overtime, paperwork and higher duties.

The TWU balloted Toll employees across the country earlier this month after the company and the union could not reach a deal on issues including superannuation and wage increases, site rates and the coverage of the new enterprise agreement.

“Following on from this decision, our member-led negotiation team will now meet to decide on the appropriate scope and size of industrial action in the event the deadlock is not broken,” TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon says.

“It’s always been our intention to reach an agreement with the company that our members can vote on, but after more than 100 hours of negotiations we still remain some distance apart.”

Sheldon says he hopes to avoid industrial action, but adds that union members “are more determined than ever to stand up for their rights”.

The TWU wants the coverage of the next enterprise agreement to be extended to all new Toll work to prevent the company from using greenfield agreements.

The union wants a 16 per cent wage increase over the life of the agreement, while Toll has offered a 15 per cent rise.

Toll has proposed increasing its superannuation obligation to 12.25 per cent, but the TWU is standing firm on 15 per cent by the end of the agreement.

The TWU also wants all Toll employees and contractors to receive the same rates. Toll’s New South Wales operations currently have site rates, and the union claims the provision needs to be extended to guarantee the jobs of its members.

Toll has previously argued the TWU’s demands would undermine the company’s competitiveness. Toll Managing Director Brian Kruger last month wrote to employees to detail the company’s offer and express his concerns about the union’s stance.

The TWU and Toll have been in negotiations since April.

Source: ATN

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