Troncs-Careys deal off due to controversial union agreement

By: Jason Whittaker


Queensland-based Troncs Group will not go ahead with the acquisition of Careys Freight Lines after discovering the company has signed

Queensland-based Troncs Group will not go ahead with the acquisition of Careys Freight Lines after discovering the company has signed up to a controversial common-law industrial agreement promoted by the Transport Workers Union (TWU), according to industry sources.

ATN understands the deal fell through during the due diligence process after Troncs realised it would be bound by the agreement if it took ownership of the NSW carrier.

Sources claim Troncs did not want anything to do with the agreement which, among other things, requires signatories to not negotiate individual or collective agreements with employees without TWU involvement, to restrict arbitration matters to the NSW jurisdiction, and to actively encourage workers to become financial members of the union.

The agreements have been linked to heavy-handed tactics on the part of the TWU. As reported by ATN last year, there were allegations the union was threatening operators to sign up to the awards or face ongoing union harassment.

One operator, for instance, claimed the union subjected the company to daily occupational health and safety checks because of a refusal to sign up to the agreement.

"In cases we are aware of, the TWU is ruthless in their pursuit of the company, including threatening legal action and public campaigns against individuals, the company and their customers," NatRoad Chief Executive Bernie Belacic told ATNat the time.

Troncs co-owner Jay Stevenson and a spokeswoman for Careys confirmed the deal was off but declined to comment on why it fell through.

It is not clear whether Troncs will still look to expand into NSW to add to its branches across Queensland in Cairns, Innisfail, Lytton and Toowoomba. It has also opened in a branch in Melbourne. Stevenson declined to comment on Troncs’ future plans.

The spokeswoman declined to comment on what direction Careys will take now the deal is off.

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