Workers at TNT in Australia are taking part in a series of four-hour stoppages this week in an effort to secure “safe rates” and better standards for contract workers.
The country-wide strike on 28 January follows the failure of a last ditch attempt to negotiate with the company.
TWU national secretary, Tony Sheldon, said that until there were sensible changes in the company’s practices safety would suffer: “While the company continues to turn the thumbscrews in the name of their bottom line, the public and employees will suffer.”
He highlighted how last week, TNT management in South Australia required the largely casual staff to continue to work at a site potentially contaminated with asbestos, providing only flimsy paper masks to some. It was only when union representatives intervened that the workplace was evacuated. TNT management, he said, had also docked workers pay during the recent floods when they were unable to work.
The workers are demanding site rates to prevent managers from bringing in contract workers that undermine the rest of the workforce and a “safe rates committee” to ensure that contractors implement safety measures and pay the correct wages. They also want to secure fair wage increases and a company superannuation or pension contribution from the employer of 15 per cent.
Sheldon said that TNT management’s claims that it could not afford to pay for the changes were baseless: “Of course TNT management will cry wolf but TNT Express is set to have profits increase 186 per cent by 2015.
“On top of that TNT are set to make a fortune out of the misfortune of the people of Queensland as demand grows because of the rebuilding effort.”
How you can show your solidarity:
• Send a letter of support to the Transport Workers Union of Australia via firstname.lastname@example.org copying in Marshall Abrahams from Organising Globally at Abrahams_marshall@itg.org.uk
• Make your feelings known by send a protest letter to Bob Black, the Managing Director of TNT Australia
• Follow the TNT Workers’ campaign for fairness at work on Twitter and Facebook
Organising Globally Assistant Coordinator
International Transport Workers' Federation