When: Monday 15 November 2021 at 10:00am
Where: Toll Kmart distribution centre, 2 – 12 Banfield Ct, Truganina, VIC, 3029
What: Doorstop at strike location
Spokesperson: UWU National Secretary Tim Kennedy and striking workers
Visuals: Workers picketing outside of the warehouse
Contact: UWU Media Officer Carolyn Smart 0439 933 229
Hundreds of workers across seven Toll warehouses will begin indefinite strike action on Monday 15 November following the company’s refusal to provide secure, fairly paid jobs for workers who kept the company operating during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Workers have been attempting to bargain with Toll for more than six months. So far, the company has blocked measures that guarantee workers’ current conditions in the event of contract changes or site location changes, which are both common occurrences in running a third-party logistics company like Toll.
Workers want to know that when they’re working for Toll, they’re working for Toll. If Toll’s contract with company X finishes and starts with company Y, workers shouldn’t see a – sometimes significant – cut to their wages from one week to the next.
In October, workers at warehouses in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia voted in favour of various forms of industrial action, including an indefinite strike.
Workers have rejected the company’s pay offer of between 2.25 and 2.5 percent per annum. Australia’s consumer price index was three percent according to latest figures from the Bureau of Statistics.
United Workers Union National Secretary Tim Kennedy said workers aren’t willing to accept what amounts to a wage cut while the cost of essentials keeps skyrocketing.
“The cost of living keeps rising, but we have huge companies like Toll in the business of supressing wages for its already low paid workforce,” Kennedy said.
“This contracting out model has made big bucks for third party logistics companies and the brands they service, but it has seen wages slashed for workers that have never recovered.
“At the Kmart distribution centre back in 2010 before it was contracted out to Toll, workers were earning $32.65. Now, 11 years later, the base rate at the same site – doing the same work – is $27.53.
“The continued suppression on wages and exacerbation of insecure work must end. When workers like the workers at Toll, who after turning up through the pandemic to keep society functioning, have to strike for a living wage, it shows that workers in Australia have been forgotten. Something needs to change.”
Toll worker Narelle Young said, “we’re going on strike for better pay because the cost of living has gone up so much people can’t afford to live.”
“We’re also fighting for more full-time jobs for our casuals in these times of insecure work. They deserve job security.
“We want to move forward not backwards and we want the conditions we work on protected so Toll can’t just change them if they send us to another site or third party or open a new shed.”
There are five warehouses in Victoria, one in NSW and one in SA taking part in the protected strike action.
Toll provides third party logistics for big brands including Kmart, Nike, Optus and Mondelez at the sites impacted.
Action will continue indefinitely until a reasonable offer has been made and will likely have a major impact on a supply chain already under strain in the lead up to the Christmas peak.
Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]