JJ Richards loses fight to restrict TWU ballot

TWU given OK to push for wage increases despite JJ Richards saying it cannot pass them on

By Brad Gardner | 21 February, 2011

The Transport Workers Union has been given the all clear to pursue higher pay for JJ Richards’ drivers despite the company saying it cannot pass on wage increases.

Fair Work Australia has given the TWU the all clear to ballot JJ Richards’ drivers collecting garbage for the Canterbury City Council in NSW.

The union will now determine the level of support for a strike to secure a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

JJ Richards declined to enter negotiations with the TWU last month, claiming the council will not accept higher wage costs under the contract.

The contract is due to expire in February next year.

"We do have reservations in regard to entering bargaining due to the fact that, as this stage, there is no contractual certainty," the company says.

Commissioner Greg Harrison says the TWU is genuinely trying to reach an agreement with JJ Richards.

"The TWU has been seeking to negotiate an enterprise agreement to cover employees of JJR employed on the City of Canterbury (NSW) waste removal contract since February 2010," he says.

Harrison in November last year granted the TWU permission to ballot drivers, but his decision was overturned on a technicality in December. The TWU then contacted JJ Richards on December 24 seeking to begin bargaining.

The union has waged stoppages against transport operators in pursuit of higher pay and better conditions, with the most recent being against TNT Express.

TNT contractors were accused of ramming TWU members with their trucks, while TNT accused the union of blocking access to its Enfield depot.

TWU members went on strike last year against Australian Air Express.

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