TWU gets approval to ballot Linfox Armaguard workers

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: John Abbate /

FWC grants request for protected action ballot order, but imposes conditions on the union.

TWU gets approval to ballot Linfox Armaguard workers
Armaguard told the Fair Work Commission work stoppages could prevent deliveries to or collections from ATMs.


Linfox’s Armaguard division faces potential industrial action as part of negotiations on a new workplace agreement, but the Transport Workers Union (TWU) will need to meet specific conditions before a strike can happen.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) granted the TWU’s request to ballot Armaguard drivers about taking industrial action that involves bans on regular time and overtime work and periodic and indefinite stoppages.

However, commissioner David Gregory says the TWU must give Linfox five days written notice before beginning periodic or indefinite stoppages – as opposed to the standard period of three days – to account for the "exceptional circumstances" that exist in the cash-in-transit sector.

"I have had particular regard to the following matters in coming to this conclusion. Firstly, the nature of the industry in which Armaguard operates, and the nature of what is being transported, raises safety and security issues for its employees, customers and the general public that are not present in many other areas of business activity," Gregory says in his written judgement.

"Those safety and security issues must accordingly be anticipated and planned for."

Armaguard national security operations manager Mark Nichols told the FWC periodic and indefinite stoppages would lead to excess cash being stored on clients’ premises and that such a situation would be unreasonable.

According to Nichols, many Armaguard clients cannot safely store excess amounts of cash, there are inherent risks in storing cash on premises and Armaguard has an insurance policy that limits the amount of cash that can be stored at a client’s premise.

He added that stoppages could prevent deliveries to or collections from ATMs, financial institutions and retailers, meaning cash would not be available to the public through ATMs or Eftpos.

"Mr Nichols also stated that unless Armaguard received timely notification from the TWU about the action to be taken, and how long it would last, it would be difficult to implement its business continuity plans, which are necessary to ensure contingency arrangements are put in place safely and in a manner consistent with Armaguard’s obligations under State and National codes of practice," Gregory says.

"He said Armaguard required more than 3 working days to put these contingency arrangements in place because of the number of staff required to be licensed to perform cash in transit duties in Victoria."

Armaguard initially wanted the FWC to order the union to provide notice of between seven to 10 days.

Linfox and the TWU are currently in engaged in negotiations on a new enterprise agreement for Armaguard drivers.

Gregory says his ruling strikes an appropriate balance between allowing protected industrial action to take place and ensuring Armaguard can take appropriate defensive measures.

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