DHL objections not enough to deny NUW

National Union of Workers will ask DHL employees if they support bans on unloading and loading trucks

July 19, 2013

Trucks at DHL sites across the country could go unloaded or be left waiting to be filled if the company fails to reach a deal with workers on a new enterprise agreement.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has granted the National Union of Workers (NUW) permission to ballot DHL employees on industrial action as part of the NUW’s attempt to strike a new workplace agreement.

The NUW will ask DHL employees if they support an unlimited number of work stoppages ranging from four to 24 hours and indefinitely.

Staff will also be asked if they are willing to support bans on the loading and unloading of trucks, working overtime and completing paperwork for an indefinite duration.

DHL opposed the NUW’s request and claims the union’s push for wage increases of more than 23 percent meant it was not trying to genuinely reach an agreement.

"The Applicant [NUW] submitted there were reasons for seeking the increases to "catch up" the wage rates of employees and these had been discussed in negotiations between the parties," FWC Commissioner Paula Spencer says in her written judgment.

"The Applicant submitted it was genuinely trying to reach an agreement as it had provided a log of claims to the Respondent [DHL] in March in relation to a proposed enterprise agreement to be made between the Respondent and the Respondent’s employees."

Spencer says representatives from DHL and the NUW had met on four occasions to discuss the proposed enterprise agreement and employees voted to reject the company’s offer in June.

She says both parties are trying to reach an agreement and that DHL’s concerns about wage demands should be addressed during negotiations.

"The matters referred to by the Respondent do not demonstrate that the Applicant is not genuinely trying to reach an agreement," Spencer says.

"There is no obligation on a party to resile from negotiating a particular wage claim or not to engage in hard bargaining."

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