Workplace deal sets new standard
By Ewan Hannan
Staff at transport giant Linfox are the beneficiaries of a groundbreaking new workplace deal.
Linfox will lift superannuation contributions to 15 per cent, increase wages by 12 per cent and make casual employees permanent after six months, under a deal that has been hailed as a pacesetter by the Australian Council of Trade Unions leadership
Unions and Linfox management yesterday welcomed the agreement that delivers three annual 4 per cent pay rises and commits to increasing superannuation by one percentage point each year over six years, taking the rate from 9 to 15 per cent.
Transport Workers Union national secretary Tony Sheldon said the commitment for casual workers to be converted to permanent employment after six months set a precedent.
"The ACTU called for workers to be made permanent after six months of continuous work, and it was bagged, but here is a major employer that can see a secure workforce is profitable and worth the investment," Mr Sheldon said.
"This is a highly dangerous industry and this agreement is not only lifestyle-changing but lifesaving. There are still operational matters to resolve, but we expect the package will be recommended by delegates to members by Christmas with a final document by January."
A Linfox spokesman said the new agreement reflected the company’s position as an industry leader in safety, compliance, training and superannuation.
"Attracting and retaining the best possible people is fundamental to ensuring productivity and customer service requirements, which differentiate Linfox from other logistics providers," the spokesman said.
He said the commitment to increase superannuation to 15 per cent demonstrated Linfox’s commitment to its employees
"The company genuinely believes it has a responsibility to look after its people and allow them to retire with dignity and with sufficient financial security," he said.
ACTU president Ged Kearney said the agreement on casuals was "a pacesetter which will drive higher productivity for the company over the next few years".
"Linfox has shown that agreements can be done which provide job security for employees, and clear benefits for the company from having a satisfied, secure and permanent workforce," she said.
"Other big employers should take a leaf out of Linfox’s book because it is time Australia confronted the issue of precarious work: casualisation; underemployment; outsourcing; offshoring; labour hire.
"It needs to involve government and we are happy to listen to industry solutions, too."
Ms Kearney said the agreement to lift superannuation contributions to 15 per cent represented "industry best practice".
Article from The Australian, December 2010.