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ITF slams treatment of Toll drivers
10 April 2012
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|Toll Group drivers protest outside port facilities (Image: grimtruthattollgroup.com)|
On the eve of a crucial vote on unionisation, the ITF has acted to condemn the alleged victimisation of port drivers working in the USA for Australian multinational the Toll Group.
The ITF is supporting the drivers in their struggle to secure the union recognition and contract protections their Melbourne-based employer freely extends to their 12,000 workmates in Australia.
According to the ITF member unions the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Australia’s Transport Workers’ Union, the drivers have been targeted after expressing their desire to collectively bargain, and after exposing unsatisfactory and unsanitary conditions.
Writing to Toll Group managing director Brian Kruger today, ITF president Paddy Crumlin and ITF general secretary David Cockroft warned:
“In March 2012 a fact-finding mission from the ITF-affiliated Australian Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) witnessed the difficult and often perilous conditions experienced by the port truckers workers in California – and heard about the anti-union environment in which they operate.
“Coming from the union that represents Toll’s largest unionised workforce in the world, the TWU representatives were appalled to find that its US workers were not accorded the labour rights nor the decent conditions afforded to their Australian counterparts. In fact, their report of Toll Group’s well-funded campaign of vicious escalation against these 75 Latino- and African-Americans is astonishing. It contains reports of intimidation and surveillance by the company – for example workers were being tailed and filmed by armed security guards. They were also forced to attend meetings where speakers rail against unions. We understand one female workplace leader was sacked, ostensibly for using the toilets in a McDonalds in preference to the substandard and insanitary portable toilet facilities provided.
“The ITF strongly supports these workers in their efforts to organise to improve their conditions and is calling on you to end immediately this deplorable campaign of harassment and to instruct your US managers to enter into appropriate talks with worker representatives. Such treatment as the TWU witnessed not only goes against Australian and human values, it fails to respect the internationally-recognised employee rights to unionise and to collectively bargain to win decent work.”
The letter to Toll is being picked up by ITF unions worldwide who are backing the drivers as they prepare to vote on trade union representation tomorrow. For more information about what is happening at Toll operations in the US please go to
http://grimtruthattollgroup.com and http://grimtruthattollgroup.com/files/2011/10/Toll-Group-Report.pdf
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