UPS boss quashes hire staff fear

UPS Australia Managing Director Jeff Fairbairn says conditions for Australian staff will not change after the company’s merger with TNT Express

UPS boss quashes hire staff fear
UPS boss quashes hire staff fear

By Anna Game-Lopata | February 14, 2012

United Parcel Service (UPS)
Australia Managing Director Jeff Fairbairn says conditions for Australian staff will not change after the company’s merger with TNT Express.

Fairbairn tells SupplyChain Review until the merger deal closes
UPS considers TNT Express a competitor and is unable to comment on the wages and conditions of its staff.

However Fairbairn confirms the US-headquartered
transport and logistics company is not looking to change or reduce working conditions for any current UPS staff.

"UPS believes in engaging in open dialogue with our employees, and we treat them fairly and without favouritism, regardless of their union affiliation," Fairbairn says.

"UPS and the Transport Workers Union (TWU)
have continued to engage in good faith negotiations."

He is responding to the TWU's call decision
to ballot UPS employees on July 16 in a plan to initiate industrial action over wages and conditions at the company following its merger with TNT Express.

The union is concerned a successful agreement with TNT Express negotiated last year could be undercut by UPS following the merger, as UPS management can lawfully utilise either the UPS or TNT agreements in place for a 12 month period.

"Given human nature, we are concerned there may be a financial incentive for the company to make use of the cheaper option offered by the UPS agreement," says Acting TWU Acting Secretary Michael Kaine.

"This is clearly not in the interests of our members."

Kaine says TWU officials have been negotiating with UPS representatives in Australia since March with no success.

The union is particularly concerned for hired labourers and distribution centre staff whose redundancy conditions and wages may be affected should UPS management choose the UPS agreement over the new TNT Express agreement.

However Fairbairn says UPS does not have the regulatory approval needed to complete the TNT agreement, so the company is unable to discuss TNT matters further.

"We have made this position clear with the union," Fairbairn says.

"We are not aware of the terms and conditions of the staff at TNT and are unable to comment on them."

Fairbairn confirms once the $6.4 billion UPS acquisition of TNT Express is complete, UPS will begin a four-year integration effort designed to ensure that TNT Express is integrated without impact to customers.

"By the end of the integration, the TNT Express brand will be retired," Fairbairn says.

"We are still in the early stages of the agreement and until evaluations are complete, we cannot comment on any new structure," he adds.

Fairbairn says the transaction will result in enhanced supply chain network for customers through technology and new capabilities both in terms of services offered and the geographies reached.

"TNT’s network would provide UPS’s customers with a broader footprint and services not available today, particularly in Europe, Australia, Brazil and other emerging markets," he says.

"Additionally customers will benefit from TNT’s leading European road freight network.

"UPS customers will also benefit from access to expanded express and road freight capabilities in Europe and broader capabilities in fast-growing regions such as Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

"TNT customers will benefit from UPS’s unparallel access to the North American market, as well as access to its logistics solutions, such as global freight forwarding and distribution capabilities."

Fairbairn adds Asia continues to be a priority growth region at UPS.

"Our business decisions are based on customer needs and we are committed to long-term investments in our infrastructure, technology and people," he says.

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