TWU ballot goes ahead despite SITA concerns

TWU will seek support for strike from drivers at SITA’s Queensland depots despite company saying the union is acting "prematurely"

By Brad Gardner | September 9, 2011

A union push to gauge support for a driver strike at the Queensland depots of waste management and transport company SITA will go ahead.

Fair Work Australia has granted the Transport Workers Union (TWU) the right to seek support from drivers at SITA’s Lower Nudgee, Gold Coast and Rocklea depots for an unlimited number of stoppages and indefinite bans on overtime as part of efforts to secure a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Commissioner Ingrid Asbury granted the ballot application despite SITA saying the TWU was acting "prematurely".

SITA also wanted an extra question added to the proposed ballot specifically asking employees if they supported taking any industrial action against the company.

The company sought the amendment on the basis of the number and complexity of the eight questions on the ballot, but Asbury upheld the TWU’s refusal to make any changes.

"I am not satisfied that the form of the questions in the draft order filed by the TWU should be amended by inserting an additional preliminary question," Asbury says.

"The questions set out in the draft order are clear and unambiguous and are a type commonly specified in protected action ballot orders. I can see no basis for the addition of a question sought by the employer."

The questions include seeking unlimited stoppages of two, four, eight, 24 and 48 hours respectively, and an indefinite stoppage.

The vote, which will be conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission, will be held sometime this month.

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