Thousands of workers at a major parcel delivery service who fear for their job security have walked off the job across the country for the second time this month.
Deliveries were almost certain to be affected as thousands of StarTrack workers began a 24-hour strike at midnight on Wednesday.
Speaking to the media at 8am, Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine said employees were protesting the company’s move to push out work to “cheaper contracted labor”.
“This is a direct threat to these workers and the financial security of themselves and their families,” he said.
“What they want of course is commitments in writing from this company in their agreements that protect that job security – That’s not too much to ask.”
Camera IconTransport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine says employees are protesting the company’s move to push out work to ‘cheaper contracted labor’. NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw Credit: News Corp Australia
Major transport and logistics companies across Australia have staged multiple protests recently, including international parcel giant FedEx and alcohol transport company BevChain.
“Six major transport operators around the country in the last 10 days have settled good strong job security agreements, that’s not good enough,” Mr Kaine said.
He also called out the federal government, saying the commonwealth had been “missing in action” to deal with the rise in online shopping, which was “pulling down standards right across the industry”.
“These workers have had to take the difficult decision to withdraw their labour,” Mr Kaine said.
“They’re legally entitled to do that, but it is difficult to do, and they’ve had to do it simply to bring StarTrack back to the table. They’ve abandoned negotiations, that’s bewildering, these workers are ready to get a good fair deal like six other transport companies have around this country.”
Camera IconStarTrack argues its employees have some of the best conditions in the industry. NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw Credit: News Corp Australia
But StarTrack – a subsidiary of Australia Post – refuted the claims, arguing the company continued to bargain in “good faith” and that the TWU was “moving the goalposts”.
“At first it claimed it was about job security, and with a largely agreed approach there, it now claims it’s about pay – this is despite repeated public statements from TWU officials that this is not a wages dispute,” spokesperson Michelle Skehan said.
“StarTrack has some of the best conditions in the industry, and last year we paid all frontline team members a 1 per cent thank you bonus when none of our competitors did.
“StarTrack’s strong offer includes a market-leading guaranteed pay rise of 3 per cent each year, secured and compounding for three years.”
Mr Kaine assured StarTrack would continue to deliver essential goods throughout the strike, but some parcel delays were to be expected.Internet Explorer Channel Network