Package deliveries could be crippled in the lead up to Christmas as thousands of transport operators across the country threaten to walk off the job over a pay dispute.

The Transport Workers Union has demanded improved pay and job security protections but has not set a time frame for the strike.

Major operators including StarTrack, FedEx, Toll, Linfox and BevChain are due to engage in ongoing negotiations in the coming week.

TWU’s national secretary Michael Kaine says the companies have delayed deals.

“After being responsible for months and months and putting forward reasonable propositions for months and months, the time has come,” he said.

“They are not going to be the ones that suffer the wrath of the community in the lead-up to Christmas because these companies are deliberately delaying to that they can slander workers and pressure them to sign away their job security.

“It’s crunch time – it’s time to settle these deals.”

The union has been pushing for protections for five months over a rise in outsourcing in the industry.

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