After reporting a huge jump in revenue during the 2020 pandemic, transport and logistics company Toll Group is now facing industrial action from its drivers after enterprise agreement talks broke down this week.
Toll's national operations include the Canberra region, and the company has been a major logistics contributor to local projects including the delivery of 88,000 solar panels to the Royalla Solar Farm. Toll also operates the aero-medical service based at Symonston.
An application to the Fair Work Commission for strike action by 7000 Toll workers and drivers, all members of the Transport Workers Union, may threaten future food and fuel supplies around the region.
The union says Toll is looking to reduce pay and slash conditions in Toll yards "to win work from wealthy retailers and manufacturers by offering low rates".
It says the dispute centres around the scrapping of overtime entitlements, bringing in new workers on worse pay and conditions, and attempting to remove job security protections.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine says "workers have built high standards at Toll over decades, including through the last 18 months of sustained Christmas-level demand".
"Drivers know all too well what happens when conditions and pay are dragged down in transport: stressed, chronically fatigued drivers are forced to work long hours, speed and skip rest breaks resulting in deaths and injuries on our roads," he said.
Toll said that its drivers enjoy "industry leading pay and conditions". It is offering wage increases of a 1.5 per cent in 2021 and a further 1.75 per cent in 2022.
Toll's Global Express arm was purchase by private equity operator Allegro Funds in April this year.
Christine Holgate, the former Australia Post chief executive targeted by Prime Minister Scott Morrison over her use of company funds to reward high-performing executives with luxury watches, will run the newly-acquired logistics company.
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