The 7,000-strong group of truckies are all members of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and are calling on their employer Toll Group to improve pay and job security.
Many joined a protest which took place in Brisbane after walking off the job in a move which could cause disruptions for food, fuel and package deliveries.
The WTU said the delivery of vaccines and other essential medical supplies would not be impacted by the strike action.
Toll truck driver Ian Buckingham at the Toll transport drivers 24 hour strike for better pay and safer jobs at Murarrie Recreation Reserve, Brisbane. Picture: NCA
Truck drivers are disputing a new enterprise bargaining agreement which determines future pay and conditions.
Toll Group offered a two per cent rise in pay over the next two years and a $1,000 sign-on bonus after truck drivers agreed to pause a pay rise in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
TWU is attempting to broker a three per cent pay rise on behalf of the truck drivers but talks stalled after Toll Group moved to cut overtime pay rates for permanent workers.
They argued short-term staff could be hired instead on lower wages.
The TWU hit back at the move to end overtime arguing many truck drivers depend on it to make the job financially viable.
Truck drivers have gone on strike for 24 hours to highlight pay and conditions maintained by transport giant Toll Group. Picture: NCA
Under the Road Transport and Distribution Award, a junior transport worker earns $21.53 an hour while a senior worker earns $27.53 an hour. 
On Sunday the rates almost double to $43.06 and $50.72 an hour with further rate hikes on public holidays.
The strike was legalised after 94 percent of union members voted in favour of taking action in an official ballot supervised by the Fair Work Commission.
Toll Group has customers in retail, hospitality, chemicals, agriculture and mining and serves supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.
Toll Global Express president Alan Beacham criticised the timing of the strike given the COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales but reassured customers disruptions would be minimised.
Supermarket Giants Coles and Woolworths are both customers of Toll Group which is the transport company at the centre of the truck driver strike on Friday August 27. Picture: Getty
It is understood Toll Group has plans to use drivers who are not union members and subcontractors to make deliveries during the strike.
Further strikes by transport workers over the coming days and weeks in response to other enterprise bargaining negotiations and COVID-19 restrictions.
Several groups have threatened strike action and barricades next week over COVID-19 testing processes and a possible vaccine mandate.
A national agreement requires drivers to be tested every seven days but some freight workers have been tested 2-3 times a week causing skin trauma and nose bleeds for some.
Negotiations between transport Giant Toll Group and the WTU stalled after the company threatened to cut overtime pay for workers. Picture: NCA
Border pass complications, compulsory testing processes and exposure sites at truck depots have caused many drives to lose out on work.
A patchwork quilt of transport industry associations have been calling on the Commonwealth to give essential worker status to the staff who man the 30,000 trucks which keep Australia running.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *