StarTrack strike slammed
Efforts are being made to stop a planned transport strike this week.
About 2000 employees of delivery company StarTrack who are members of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) have gained legal protection to go on strike for 24 hours on Thursday.
The strike occurs amid ongoing pay negotiations to roll back outsourcing and labour hire in the industry.
StarTrack has reportedly offered employees a 9 per cent pay rise over three years without any reductions to work conditions. The company says its enterprise agreement already has significant job security protections, including guarantees on pay for external contractors and allowing casual staff doing regular shifts to convert to permanent jobs.
StarTrack has applied to the Fair Work Commission to stop the strike from going ahead, claiming it could stop AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines being delivered.
The TWU has publicly stated that vaccine supplies and deliveries will not be affected by its industrial action.
“Medical supplies and vaccines are, now and always, exempted from strike action,” it said in a statement.
“The TWU has provided an undertaking to StarTrack and requested detail as to which yards and workers are involved in the transport of vaccines and medical supplies to ensure those union members do not participate in the strike.”
StarTrack spokesperson Michelle Skehan said it is unclear how the union’s proposed exemptions will work.
“It is an extremely difficult manual process to separately identify and extract [vaccines and medical supplies] once they’ve entered our system,” Ms Skehan said.
“Collection of vaccines and medical supplies also require drivers to collect the products and we anticipate drivers may not be available during industrial action.”
A spokesperson for the government’s Operation COVID Shield vaccine rollout said; “At this point in time, no disruptions are expected to vaccine and consumables deliveries this week”.
TWU members are also in the process of bargaining for pay deals at Toll, Linfox and FedEx.