Another one joins the mob: Hutchison Ports also to charge

Hutchison Ports Sydney is the latest container terminal in Australia to announce the impost of a new Infrastructure Surcharge of $10.45 per full import or export container handled at the terminal by road or rail from 25 June.
Hutchison Ports Sydney took just one paragraph, posted through its online Customer Portal on 21 May, to justify the surcharge impost, without any consultation with those who must pay: container transport operators (road and rail), and ultimately importers and exporters.
CTAA director Neil Chambers observed: “It shows a particular mindset when Hutchison Ports clearly believes that the only explanation they need to offer to the landside logistics sector is a one-liner describing the surcharge as necessary ‘because of the high cost of additional equipment and infrastructure procured in recent years and used to provide and maintain an efficient terminal landside operation’.
“Hutchison Ports Australia, and its parent company headquarters in Hong Kong, have watched while the other incumbent container stevedoring companies in Australia hiked up their own landside infrastructure surcharges with impunity. They have now decided to get a piece of that unregulated action as well.
“CTAA has engaged with federal and state government ministers, departments and regulators, urging an investigation into how costs and service pricing are being allocated in the international container logistics chain. This seems yet another example of large scale cost shifting occurring without any regulatory balance… at what cost to Australia’s trade competitiveness?
“CTAA maintains that this is not about the recovery of rising business costs at all. All of the recent massive infrastructure surcharge increases, including this latest one by Hutchison Ports Australia in Sydney, are about the stevedore companies trying to maintain their viability in what seems like a stevedore services ‘price war’ playing out as shipping line contracts become due for renegotiation.
“The other major concern of CTAA’s container transport operator alliance companies is that the surcharges are being imposed through Terminal Carrier Access Agreements, which we believe breach the ‘unfair contract terms’ provisions of Australia’s competition laws,” Mr Chambers said.
The published Hutchison Ports Australia (HPA) Terminal Carrier Access Agreement states that they may vary the terms & conditions “… at any time by placing a notice on the HPA Portal advising that the terms and conditions have changed.”
Container transport operators are then deemed to have accepted and agreed to the revised terms & conditions if they continue to use any login or the Truck Appointment System (TAS) after the revised terms & conditions have been posted on the HPA online portal.
“No ifs or buts … use the Truck Appointment System to arrange to come to the terminal, and automatically agree to any charge or levy they’d like to impose … no chance to negotiate.”
While the HPA Terminal Carrier Access Terms & Conditions aren’t reissued each year, transport operators pay an annual subscription in July each year. CTAA therefore believes that the terms & conditions are set each calendar year.
“In March this year, AWB Harvest Finance Pools Pty Ltd (AWB) amended its standard form grain pool contracts after the ACCC raised concerns that some terms in the contracts were unfair,” Mr Chambers observed.
AWB’s grain pool contracts originally included terms giving it the power to (inter alia):

  • Unilaterally increase fees to growers after the contract had been accepted by a grower; and
  • Introduce new fees from time to time after the contract was signed.

“The question CTAA has raised with the ACCC is ‘what’s the difference between the AWB unfair contract concerns and the unfair actions of Australia’s stevedoring companies who have each imposed infrastructure surcharges without consultation during the term of their access “contracts” with transport operators?’
“We note that ACCC chairman Rod Sims has indicated that a priority for the competition regulator in 2018 is to follow up on unfair contract terms where the terms are substantially and unfairly weighted to the benefit of one party and cannot be negotiated.
“CTAA is again bringing to the attention of the ACCC our belief that the infrastructure surcharges imposed by the stevedores on container transport operators breach the unfair contract terms provisions of Australia’s competition laws and involve substantial small business detriment,” Mr Chambers said.

More logistics workers to get a pay rise – but not much

81 per cent of Australia’s transport and distribution employers will give their staff a pay rise of less than 3 per cent in their next review, while 4 per cent will not increase salaries at all, according to the 2018-19 Hays Salary Guide.
The 2018-19 Hays Salary Guide shows a further 11 per cent will give staff an increase of 3 to 6 per cent. Just 4 per cent will increase by 6 per cent or more.
Compared to their last review, when 11 per cent of transport and distribution employers gave no increases, the findings show that more logistics professionals will receive an increase.
Logistics workers, however, have higher expectations than employers for a salary increase: 23 per cent expect an increase of 6 per cent or more.
Employees have also prioritised a pay rise. Two-thirds (67 per cent) say a salary increase is their number one career priority this year. If their employer doesn’t offer a pay rise, almost half (48 per cent, up from 45 per cent last year) will request one.
“Across Australia’s warehousing, transport and supply chain markets, a key theme has been positive productivity linked to efficiency improvements,” said managing director of Hays Logistics Tim James.
“Logistics companies have therefore been targeting multi-skilled candidates who have a strong knowledge of systems and processes. They must also have a proven track record in reducing costs, the ability to achieve demanding KPI, and diverse experience. Add the requirement for a wider technical skill set and the ability to meet compliance and OH&S regulations for those in management roles, and it is surprising that salaries have not increased in line with rising employer expectations. How long this can continue remains to be seen.
“In transport specifically, we have seen an active market for transport professionals, particularly in Victoria and New South Wales where infrastructure is strained. Salaries have increased in response to demand, reaching up to $85,000 plus superannuation.
“Candidate movement at the senior level, particularly heads of logistics, transport managers/planners and distribution managers, has been minimal. However this is expected to change in 2018-19 as senior professionals become more aware of the opportunities presented by industry growth. This could also be the catalyst that prompts employers to increase salaries to retain their top talent.
“Within the supply chain market, the value of a robust and transparent supply chain has seen sales and operations planning (S&OP) processes come to the fore. This has created demand for quality Supply and Demand Planners. Salaries are competitive given the drive from employers to secure the best available talent in this area.”
The Hays Salary Guide also found:

  • Business activity increased for 74 per cent of employers in the past 12 months, while 77 per cent expect it to increase in the next 12 months.
  • 40 per cent foresee a strengthening economy in the coming six to 12 months.
  • 40 per cent of employers expect to increase permanent staff levels in the next 12 months in their distribution department.
  • Meanwhile, 20 per cent expect to increase their use of temporary and contract distribution staff.
  • 40 per cent of organisations now employ temporary and contract staff in their distribution department on a regular ongoing basis and another 20 per cent employ them for special projects or workloads.
  • In the last 12 months, 16 per cent of Australians asked for a pay rise but were declined – a further 18 per cent asked for a pay rise and were successful.
  • The success of the latter perhaps explains why 48 per cent say they intend to ask for a pay rise in their next review. A further 24 per cent are as yet unsure.
  • 32 per cent of employers say staff turnover has increased in their organisation over the last 12 months.
  • 67 per cent of employers, compared to 65 per cent last year, are worried that skill shortages will impact the effective operation of their organisation or department in a significant (26 per cent) or minor (41 per cent) way.
  • 67 per cent of employers offer flexible salary packaging. Of these, the most common benefits offered to all employees are salary sacrifice (offered to all employees by 57 per cent of employers), above mandatory superannuation (41 per cent), parking (33 per cent), private health insurance (29 per cent) and bonuses (27 per cent).
  • 70 per cent of employees have access to flexible work practices, 56 per cent receive ongoing learning & development, 45 per cent career progression opportunities, 36 per cent health and wellness programs, 32 per cent over 20 days’ annual leave and 30 per cent financial support for study.

 

Victoria to boost TAFE courses

Victoria University Polytechnic will train hundreds of workers in the skills they need to take up jobs on the West Gate Tunnel under a new TAFE partnership.
Under the new partnership, the TAFE division of Victoria University will offer civil construction Certificate II, III and IV courses to meet the growing needs of the government’s pipeline of infrastructure projects.
Certificate III in Civil Construction is also part of the Labor Government’s TAFE Free for Priority Courses initiative that will come into effect next year.
To accommodate the additional training needs of the West Gate Tunnel project, Victoria University Polytechnic is planning to reopen its Werribee East campus as a Technology Precinct centred on Civil Construction.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said: “We are investing in the big projects we need, like the West Gate Tunnel, and the people we need to build them.
“There are already 1,200 people working on the West Gate Tunnel – this partnership will make sure that young Victorians get the skills they need to help deliver this massive project.”
The West Gate Tunnel is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs, including 500 jobs for apprentices, trainees and graduates, under the Victorian Major Project Skills Guarantee.
As part of the partnership between Victoria University Polytechnic and constructor CPB-John Holland, there’ll also be dedicated courses for trainees and apprentices already employed on the West Gate Tunnel Project.
Construction started on the West Gate Tunnel Project in early 2018 and there are already over 1,200 people working on the job.
Victoria University Polytechnic, a Vocational Education and Training provider, will deliver training to about 15,000 students in 2018, with about 5,000 students engaged in trade-based programs.

Tired man truck driver with cigarette

Linfox, TWU study: transport is dangerous

Transport workers are up to five times more likely to be injured at work than any other Australian worker, according to new Monash research, with rail drivers in particular 30 times more likely to develop a mental health condition than any other worker.
These are just two of many significant findings unearthed in the first report of the National Transport Industry Health and Wellbeing Study, released today by the Insurance Work and Health Group at Monash University.
The research, supported by Linfox Logistics and the Transport Workers Union, comes from the first stage of a detailed national study looking into the health of workers in the transport industry.
The Australian transport and logistic industry is very diverse, and encompasses drivers, logistics, storage and warehousing workers, managers and executives.
Alex Collie, professor and director of the Insurance Work and Health Group, said transport workers were subject to a unique set of health risks in their working environment, including sedentary jobs, long working hours and shift work, isolation, fatigue and sleep deprivation, among others.
“This study presents a national picture of the health of people working in the transport and logistics industry. Prior studies have focused on safety and on specific groups of workers. We used a large and detailed national database of work injury claims to examine a range of different injuries and diseases that affect workers across the whole industry,” Professor Collie said.
“Our ultimate aim is to develop programs and services that can prevent illness and injury in the transport sector, and help people recover and return to work when they become sick.”
There are strong links between people’s health and their ability to work, Professor Collie said, so understanding and improving the health of an industry which employs 1.2 million people is important for the workers, their employers and the Australian economy.
The Transport Workers Union national assistant secretary Michael Kaine said the report’s findings show that the “pressures on transport workers, including long hours away from family, chronic fatigue and the stresses of meeting deadlines, are clearly taking their toll”.
“It should serve as yet another example of the need for a check on the transport supply chain, to ensure that the major clients at the top are being held to account for the pressure they exert on the industry and its workforce,” he said.
Linfox Logistics general manager of HR Lauren Pemberton said working with Monash and TWU to investigate driver health and safety was the “next logical step in improving our staff health programs”.
 

Build them trains here

A Labor Government will ensure that more trains are built in Australia by local manufacturing workers, establishing a National Rail Plan to ensure that every dollar of Federal funding spent on rail projects goes towards creating local jobs and protecting our rail industry, said Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese.
“Australia will spend more on rail in the next decade than on submarines. It’s important to get that investment right,” they said in their statement.
“Labor believes that investment in rail should create local jobs and boost our domestic manufacturing capability – rather than just flowing to overseas industry competitors.
“The Australian rail manufacturing industry employs 5,000 workers, with another 7,000 in the supply chain. But the industry has lost over 3,000 jobs in the past decade. Labor’s plan will protect and create more jobs.
“Labor’s serious about investing in rail – we’ve committed $3.7 billion to new urban rail infrastructure around the country. And with more than $100 billion to be spent by governments and private companies in rail-based public transport projects throughout Australia in the next two decades, a national plan is critical to ensure we harness the massive opportunities for this investment – for more jobs and a better industry.
“Labor will work with the states and territories through the Council of Australian Government to develop a National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy.
“As part of this strategy, future Commonwealth grant funding for rail infrastructure projects will be linked to objectives such as work being undertaken in Australia rather than commissioning overseas companies, and cooperation between jurisdictions on procurement,” the pair said.
Labor will also:

  • Establish an Office of National Rail Industry Coordination, to undertake a national audit of the adequacy, capacity and condition of passenger trains nationally and develop train priority plans, including a proposed delivery schedule for the next ten years.
  • Reinstate the important role of the Rail Supplier Advocate cut by the Liberals in 2013 – to help small and medium-sized enterprises identify export opportunities and to get a foot in the door with government purchasing bodies.
  • Establish a Rail Industry Innovation Council – to prevent the loss of more jobs and address the need for more local research & development, skills and capabilities.

The decline of the rail manufacturing industry in recent years has discouraged rail manufacturing firms from investing in their businesses and forced many skilled workers from the industry.
At the same time as the industry is seeing jobs decline, we’ve seen huge projects go to companies overseas – with local manufacturing workers missing out.
Action must be taken to preserve the strategic capabilities of Australian rail manufacturing.
“Labor’s plan will maximise the amount of work that goes to Australian firms – creating Australian jobs.”
Industry agrees
ARA Media Release: The ARA welcomes Labor’s Plan for Rail
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has welcomed Labor’s announcement that close to $6 million will be locked away in Labor’s forward estimates, which will go directly to a National Rail Plan.
“This is the first sum of money we have seen committed from a political party to a national rail plan. We would welcome bipartisan support for such a plan in the national interest,” said ARA CEO, Danny Broad.
“Labor’s plan for rail goes to the key recommendations of the recent senate inquiry into the state of Australia’s rail industry and how government procurement can improve the value for money, competitiveness, stability of work and capability of the rail manufacturing industry.
“In many respects Labor’s Plan for Rail parallels the components of the ARA’s National Rail Industry Plan released in September 2017 at a Ministerial Roundtable comprising ministers Chester, Sinodinos and Fletcher.
“Since then there has been wide support for the plan. However, this has been the first significant financial backing we have seen specifically earmarked for a national rail plan. We would welcome Coalition support in the upcoming Federal Budget.
“Labor’s Rail Plan embraces many of the key elements for which the ARA has been actively advocating, including involvement of COAG and a coordination group to engage government and the rail industry in progressing implementation.
“This approach to coordination of effort makes a lot of sense with such massive investments in rail by most Government jurisdictions.
“There is no better time to explore opportunities for local suppliers and contractors to engage with freight and passenger operators. This augers well for jobs and growth in a key industry sector.
“Urgent action is needed to assess the extent of emerging skill gaps and take corrective action through ‘fit-for-purpose’ training.
“Technological change is sweeping through our industry. This must be supported by a strong commitment to innovation — an approach strongly supported in Labor’s announcement,” Mr Broad concluded.
 

$80 million HQ and 200 new jobs: Combilift means business

200 new jobs will be created in Monaghan, Ireland, with the announcement that innovative forklift and MHE maker Combilift is to expand its workforce. The announcement was made at the opening of the new €50 million (AUD 80m) global headquarters and manufacturing facility.
The 200 new jobs, to be created over the next three years, will be for skilled technicians, design engineers, logistics and supply chain specialists and those with mechanical and electrical mechatronics skills. Combilift currently employs 550 people for the manufacture of its forklifts and material handling products.
When the company was founded 20 years ago, it had three employees, an innovative concept, and the ambition to make it a reality. Built at a cost of AUD 80m, the new 46,500sqm global headquarters and manufacturing facility will allow Combilift to double production. Established in 1998, Combilift currently exports 98% of its products to 85 countries through its 250-strong international dealer network.
Combilift managing director Martin McVicar said the investment will enable Combilift to meet its ambitious growth plans. “We have employed an additional 230 people since we announced our plans for this factory in 2015, and we are planning to recruit an additional 200 in the next three years. The combination of this state-of-the-art production plant and a skilled workforce will allow us to double production within the next five years.”
Mass customisation
Mr McVicar attributes the company’s impressive growth to mass customisation. “Combilift has set the benchmark for the mass production of customised innovative products. Mass customisation is the new frontier for both the customer and the manufacturer. Increasingly, customers are expecting products to be tailored to meet their needs.”
Since 1998, Combilift has been manufacturing customised products tailored to suit client requirements. “The flexibility in our new facility means that Combilift can continue to accommodate any customer request for a customised material handling solution,” says McVicar “The new factory enables us to double production and remain focused on the needs of our customers and dealers.”
Growth of Combilift
Established by Martin McVicar and Robert Moffett in 1998, Combilift is a privately held and fully capitalised company. It developed the world’s first multidirectional all-wheel drive IC engine-powered forklift in 1998. In its first year of operation, Combilift produced 18 units, 17 of which were exported. The company has more than doubled in the last five years and now has 40,000 units in operation in over 85 countries.
Combilift’s product range has expanded way beyond its first multidirectional Combilift, with product development and customisation being a cornerstone of the company’s ethos, according to Mr McVicar.
New factory
The new 46,500sqm purpose–built factory is set on a 100-acre site with room for expansion. With 11 acres of roof space, it is one of the largest manufacturing operations under one single roof in Ireland.
Incorporating lean manufacturing processes with a focus on sustainability, the new factory will enable Combilift to double its output in a single shift across all production lines. Four, 90-metre moving assembly lines produce a finished truck every 15 minutes.
30% of its roof space is covered in skylights enabling staff to work in natural daylight without the assistance of artificial lighting. Lighting is provided through 1,100 LED light with individual sensors. Solar panels supply 185 kW of energy with a 1 MW biomass plant fuelled by recycled wood (pallets etc) to heat the spray booths and assembly area. 110,000 litres of rain water is harvested for use throughout the facility.
More than 50 truckloads of finished products are dispatched to 85 countries each week. Spare parts are also shipped across the world from Monaghan to the dealer network.
Certified to international quality and safety management standards, the new headquarters and manufacturing facility has been awarded ISO 9001 international quality management system, ISO 14001 Environment Management and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series.
 

Amazon to boost Sydney presence

Amazon has announced a new distribution centre in Moorebank, Sydney. The company will begin recruiting immediately for a range of roles including operations, support and technical specialists.
The new 43,000 square metre facility is located in the Goodman Centenary Distribution Centre in Moorebank and provides access to the M5 and M7 motorways. The lease of the centre was facilitated by CBRE’s Industrial & Logistics business.
“We are thrilled to be establishing our next distribution centre in Sydney and working with incredible people in the local community around Moorebank. Sydney represents another important development for our growth strategy in Australia, following a steady and progressive increase in customer demand,” said Amazon Australia operations director Robert Bruce.
“This new facility builds on the capabilities of our first centre in Dandenong South, allowing us to continue to fulfil our commitment to fast and reliable deliveries for Australian customers. This investment will benefit both customers and the local economy by generating new jobs and providing small- and medium-sized Australian businesses that sell on amazon.com.au and use our distribution by Amazon program, with an opportunity to more easily access millions of customers across the country.”
Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said: “We are pleased to welcome the Amazon distribution centre to Moorebank. This is a great win for our local community; the Amazon facility will be a boon for South West Sydney and we look forward to having good jobs for people close to where they live and having a partner involved in the local community. We expect the Sydney distribution centre will become a key logistics hub thanks to its strategic position in south west Sydney.”
The new Sydney distribution centre, along with the existing building in Melbourne, will allow Amazon to handle current and future customer demand and speed up delivery to customers across the country, and is planned to start operations in the second half of 2018.
Amazon launched in Australia late last year offering customers tens of millions of items from 23 different categories, including consumer electronics, books, sporting goods, fashion and Amazon devices. Since then, Amazon has continued to bring new products and services with the release of Alexa and Amazon Echo, Amazon Music Unlimited as well as distribution by Amazon – where Australian sellers can utilise Amazon logistics to pick, pack and ship their goods directly from Amazon’s distribution centre. Amazon has also announced Amazon Prime will be coming to Australian customers in mid-2018.
Amazon opened its first distribution centre in Australia, located in Dandenong South, in December 2017. Amazon Web Services launched in the Australian region in 2012 and Amazon launched a Kindle Store on Amazon.com.au in 2013. Amazon has over 1,200 employees in Australia as at 1 May 2018.

The Automation Readiness Index launched

ABB and The Economist have launched the Automation Readiness Index, a global ranking for robotics and artificial intelligence.
Australia ranked in the top 10 for Automation Readiness Index. Advanced automation can mean better, more meaningful jobs for humans. But even countries most ready for the future of work must rethink education and training to prepare people for the jobs of tomorrow, a new study finds.
In a new Automation Readiness Index (ARI) report published by ABB and The Economist, Australia is currently ranked tenth in preparedness for the coming wave of intelligent automation. The index provides a snapshot across a set of 25 countries of current government-led efforts to anticipate the resulting changes and shape the outcomes of technological progress.
Ranked 10th overall and 4th in Asia, Australia has a ‘developed’ index score of 70.4. Its strongest performance is in the Innovation Environment category. It scores particularly well for technology adoption, where it is ranked first with a score of 95.7, thanks to its participation in inter-governmental initiatives such as the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. It also has above average scores for education policies and labour market policies, with rankings of 11th and joint 10th respectively.
South Korea, Germany and Singapore are the world’s top-ranked nations in their preparations for smoothly integrating intelligent automation into their economies, according to an index and report released today by ABB and The Economist Intelligence Unit.
The report The Automation Readiness Index (ARI): Who Is Ready for the Coming Wave of Innovation? finds that even the best-prepared countries must develop even more effective education policies and training programs, as well as place a new emphasis on continual learning over the course of a career.
Those policies and programs, the report recommends, must ensure that the rapid adoption of automation technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) will not leave people unprepared for the new, more human-oriented jobs that will be needed as robots and algorithms take on more of the routine tasks that can be and will be automated.
“The report showcases the success pattern of the future. We must take advantage of these recommendations,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB. “The pace of innovation and job change today is so fast that everyone must have access to lifelong learning. Augmenting human potential with technology, in a responsible way, while providing ongoing education and training, is an opportunity to drive prosperity and growth.”
“It is encouraging to see Australia being noted for its proactive approach to studying and experimenting with AI applications in the learning process,” said  Simon DeBell, business development manager for ABB In Australia. “This approach will assist with developing programs that are the most supportive of AI and robotics innovation and to start to address the associated educational challenges.”
The report, which surveyed and ranked 25 countries on their automation readiness, found that many nations across the globe are just beginning to come to grips with the opportunities and challenges posed by AI and robotics-based automation. It found that “… more engagement between government, industry, educational specialists and other stakeholders is needed if policymaking is to keep pace with innovation in automation.”
The report emphasises that, whether policymakers are ready or not, businesses are rapidly integrating AI and advanced robotics into their operations. As that adoption accelerates in coming years, the impact on economies and workforces – and the need for a more concerted approach to education and training – will become clearer, and more urgent.
In addition to South Korea, Germany and Singapore, the countries best positioned to embrace this wave of change are the other members of the ARI that round out the top 10 in ranked order: Japan, Canada, Estonia, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.
The analysis in the report is based on a new and original index, built by The Economist Intelligence Unit, as well as a series of in-depth interviews with subject matter experts from around the world. Rankings were determined based on a total of 52 qualitative and quantitative indicators selected in consultation with experts in automation, education and economics.
Through its YuMi collaborative robot and ABB Ability cross-industry portfolio of digital solutions for monitoring and controlling automation systems, ABB is helping manufacturers shaping factories of the future, where people remain a vital part of operations, working side by side with robots.
This new paradigm of human-robot collaboration has the potential to free people to focus their time and energy to higher-value work requiring human skills and talent, while leaving to robots the highly repetitive or physically demanding or even dangerous tasks. Such human work is likely to include designing the processes and operations for the robots to carry out, and also monitoring and overseeing the automated work performed by the machines.
Ideally, a successful transition to a manufacturing economy built around intelligent automation will provide human talent with the opportunity to achieve higher levels of productivity, and, ultimately, more rewarding jobs.
But to achieve that better future, the report notes that most countries will have to elevate their vocational training programs. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula remain important, the report finds. But automation and AI place even greater need for basic education programs and new types of teacher training.
ABB and The Economist Intelligence Unit plan to conduct the ARI research annually and revise the rankings each year as warranted. That will enable the index to fulfill its purpose as a tool to help governments continually identify and pursue policies that support successful participation in the highly automated, intensively digitalized global economy.
For its part, ABB is preparing for the future by creating “digital workplace” environments, training employees to use digital and automation tools. ABB also supports innovation at its corporate research centres and via collaborative partnerships with start-ups through the ABB Technology Ventures (ATV) venture capital unit.
In the global policy and educational arenas, ABB remains committed to continuing its work with trade bodies, multilateral organisations and academic institutions. The company also stands ready to brief public policymakers as requested, to enable intelligent automation to become a positive benefit to society by delivering higher levels of productivity and creating meaningful employment opportunities.
 

Workers are valued: Toll signs worldwide union agreement

The Toll Group has underlined its strong commitment to ensuring safe and fair working standards for all its employees across its 1,200 sites in 50 countries, by signing a unique agreement with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its affiliated unions.
By signing the agreement, Toll has committed to abide by international labour standards. The ‘global charter of principles’ outlines guiding principles by which crucial decisions will be made around the working conditions for Toll workers focusing on health and safety standards, business strategies and initiatives, improvements in working conditions in developing countries and the development of projects that increase industry standards and safety.
Under the charter, Toll, which represents 44,000 workers in road transport and distribution, logistics, supply chain and warehousing, has committed to making a significant investment in the development and implementation of a global project that will raise standards and safety in its main sectors.
The charter was launched at an event at the ITF’s newly-opened Singapore office, and was attended by ITF general secretary Steve Cotton, ITF head of inland transport Noel Coard, national secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) Tony Sheldon and Michael Byrne, managing director of Toll.
Michael Byrne said the company was delighted to be taking the lead on improving standards for transport and logistics workers.
“Our agreement with the ITF reflects Toll’s broader commitment to creating a strong and viable logistics industry that fosters a safe and rewarding work environment for all. With this charter, Toll and the ITF are setting clear standards to our approach for safety, labour relations and growth in our industry. I am proud that Toll is leading the way and I look forward to working cooperatively with the ITF to shape these future standards,” Mr Byrne said.
Steve Cotton said: “Toll’s workers are vitally important to their success. Their expertise, experience, ideas and motivation make the company what it is. The signing of this agreement truly shows Toll’s promise to put their workers first and we are committed to a healthy working relationship with Toll through full and constructive dialogue.
“The unions we represent continually strive to protect and honour their members and today marks a giant step in the right direction for raising standards for workers.”
 

TWU redraws the battle lines over RSRT

The TWU says hundreds of truck drivers and their supporters protested on an April weekend in all major capitals as a new survey shows 93% of drivers want to see changes to make transport safer and less pressured.
Drivers sat on Oxford Street in Sydney and marched in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in a stark message to the Federal Government, which shut down a road safety watchdog two years ago, “allowing wealthy retailers like Aldi to financially squeeze transport”, the TWU said.
The driver survey shows almost 93% of drivers also say pressure on them is continuing or increasing, with drivers listing the financial squeeze from major supermarkets and manufacturers, bad roads, unsafe truck stops and unrealistic deadlines major sources of pressure. Over 1,000 drivers responded to the survey, which was conducted following police blitzes on trucks after a spate of crashes.
The survey comes two years after the Federal Government shut down the watchdog that was investigating safety in trucking and holding major companies to account for low cost contracts which means their goods cannot be delivered safely.
“Two years ago the Federal Government scrapped scrutiny and accountability on the major manufacturers and retailers like Aldi over poor rates in their supply chains. This financial pressure means that trucks are not being maintained and drivers are being pushed to speed, drive long hours and skip mandatory rest breaks. This is devastating families across Australia because of truck crashes and it means drivers are copping all the blame for problems in the industry,” TWU acting national secretary Michael Kaine said.
“The only response from the Federal Government to the spike in deaths has been to increase the number of speed cameras to catch drivers and to have police fine them over breaches. This will not solve the problems in the industry and it will not cut the number of crashes. Unless wealthy clients are held to account for low cost contracts the problem in this industry will only worsen,” Mr Kaine added.
Industry not convinced
The TWU’s traditional enemies the (large) industry body the Australian Logistics Council and the transport owners’ Australian Trucking Association (ATA) have predictably come out against the idea of reinstating the RSRT.
The ATA has outright dismissed calls for its reinstatement, ATA chairman Geoff Crouch saying the TWU claims there has been 92 per cent increase in truck crashes in NSW since the watchdog was shut down, but there is no correlation between the two.
“In 2017, the number of deaths in NSW from crashes involving articulated trucks like semitrailers increased dramatically but we know most of the increase in deaths was in multi-vehicle crashes, 80 per cent of which were not the fault of the truck driver,” Mr Crouch said.
“In the same period, no other states or territories experienced an increase in fatal crashes involving articulated trucks, with the majority seeing significant decreases.
“Transport owners and operators have told us the devastating impact of the RSRT included financial hardship, increased debt, reduced equipment values, widespread uncertainty and significant stress on families, relationships and mental health,” Mr Crouch said.
“The ATA backs recent comments from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry that say reinstating the RSRT is a backwards step. The transport industry is essential to the fabric that holds the Australian economy together and they deserve better.
Similarly, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) said suggestions that the former Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) should be reconstituted within the Fair Work Commission are part of a continuing industrial campaign that will do nothing to improve heavy vehicle safety.
“Improving heavy vehicle safety is an enormously important national objective – and it should not be conflated with a continuing industrial campaign within some sections of the industry,” said ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff.
“ALC continues to believe that the most effective way to enhance safety in the heavy vehicle industry is by achieving greater compliance with, and enforcement of, the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).”
“These CoR provisions will be significantly strengthened and enhanced by changes due to come into effect later this year, and our focus should be on ensuring compliance with those changes. That is why ALC has been working in partnership with the Australian Trucking Association for the past year to develop an industry-wide Master Code for heavy vehicle safety, capable of becoming a registered industry code of practice under the HVNL,” Mr Kilgariff noted.

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