General Transport Workers Association founded, affiliated to ASF-IWA

The workers of ASF Brisbane have been in an industrial dispute since 9th of April with Domino’s Pizza Enterprises (DPE), after ASF members that are employees of the DPE raised the issue of their wages being cut by 19% overnight with in store notices informing them their wages have been slashed.

The result of a recent hearing at Fair Work Australia and the subsequent feelings of many drivers that the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association has let them down has resulted in the creation of the General Transport Workers Association, a group organising to tackle this issue head on and to provide solidarity for workers in the general transport industries in general.

The union for Domino’s employees in Australia is also one of the largest unions, the SDA (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association) with a membership of around 230,000 workers. The SDA is ‘managed’ by a right wing catholic hierarchy led by Joe De Bruyn that is not adverse to using the union to push christian views.

The ASF Brisbane organised a meeting with Tim Van Schyndel, Domino’s Industrial Relations Advisor at the Australian Domino’s Head Office demanding the reinstatement of drivers wages.

Following this, ASF-B organised a picket outside the DPE head office, with a very good community respons, and ASF Melbourne was approached for support. ASF Melbourne unanimously agreed to supporting our members and starts rolling pickets every weekend outside a different Domino’s store, with ASF Brisbane following suit.

We contacted the SDA and demanded that they enter an F24 to terminate the 2001 agreement, with absolutely no response to our emails. We therefore prepare to enter proceedings to terminate the agreement as employees.

On the 16th May we then contacted the SDA wanting to know why our members and other drivers should hold off on immediately filing the F24 proceedings as employees to abandon the 2001 EBA, as there appeared to be near 6 weeks of inaction by the SDA as the representative union to get the workers wages reinstated.

The SDA entered the F24 the next day, which leads to a date set for a hearing before Commissioner Gay in FWA (Fair Work Australia, the national workplace relations tribunal. FWO is the Fair Work
Ombudsman).

The start of the FWA proceedings it was unsuccessfully argued by Domino’s lawyers and SDA to the commissioner that testimony from ASF-B Members should not be recognised. The commissioner accepted ASF-B worker testimony due to a worker-signed statement, including pay slips and other submissions.

SDA stated that the 2009 agreement did not include the drivers because they and Domino’s couldn’t come to an agreement at the time. They put forward that negotiations are happening again and that Domino’s has agreed to a ~$1 increase, therefore they wished to adjourn.

ASF-B argued against the SDA submission of an open ended adjournment with no time frame on any agreement or negotiations between Domino’s and the SDA, unsuccessfully.

The ASF-B put forward that the Domino’s Industrial Relations Advisor/Lawyer stated in previous discussions with ASF that Domino’s overpaid $13 million in DPE owned franchises alone, that if they chose too they could recover overpaid wages off the drivers. This equates to around $80,000 per week bonus for Domino’s in delaying any agreement.

It was also argued at the hearing that the drivers should be put on either base catering award, or base TWU (Transport Workers Union) award for such work until an agreement is made (both awards are in the $19 range). Again unsuccessfully.

The Commissioner accepted the call for adjournment by the SDA, current drivers wages stand until SDA and Domino’s can come to an agreement, if they ever actually get around to making another.

At this hearing, Joe De Bruyn from SDA testified that 2 days after entering the F24 application (22/5/2012), it had a meeting with Domino’s to negotiate the drivers wages…

ASF Melbourne solidarity outside the FWA hearing in Melbourne, with ASF Brisbane on video hookup to the hearing inside

The testimony of Joe De Bruyn regarding the meeting between SDA & Dominos on 22/5/12 and its outcome of 4 key points of agreement (and not certified agreements) has outraged and disgusted most and sadly disappointed the rest. It is unanimously perceived and held that the SDA effectively ‘sold out’ the drivers. This is highlighted by the statement that SDA believes that the casual loading is in fact payable and that FWO made an error in ruling.

The SDA should have made an official challenge to FWO and followed through with appropriate court action for judicial ruling before succumbing to Dominos whims. The outcome of this hearing was already pre-determined by a ‘back-room deal’ on 22/5/12. Neither SDA nor Dominos had the common decency to advise the drivers that this deal had been made prior to the hearing and that the drivers were not even consulted prior to this agreement being made.

There are two takes of perception on this deal from drivers, with neither holding SDA nor Dominos in good stead. The first and outright most popular perception is that of a knowingly corrupt deal. That is to say that SDA and or its representatives must have received some sort of reward/incentive from Dominos and or its representatives in a ‘sleight of hand’ deal designed to manipulate the F24 hearing outcome with a clear benefit to Dominos at the expense of the drivers. Simple theory being that instead of Dominos taking advantage of the drivers casual loading in full that Dominos continue to benefit by $2.67 p/h at the expense of the drivers and virtually guarantee that the outcome of the hearing would be as it did in fact turn out to be. The second perception (and a well & truly clear minority perception) is that SDA was ‘taken’ by Dominos in a very clever move by Dominos to take advantage of SDA. This is to say that the SDA and or its
representatives were one or more of: too inept, too weak or too disinterested to fight for the drivers they are supposed to represent and that Dominos took advantage of this weakness.

The negotiations (as testified to at the hearing) that are currently ongoing have been going on for 8 weeks. Dominos and SDA have been either unable or unwilling to meet on an agreement since 2004 so why would there be any belief that suddenly there will be this magical occurrence of a suitable interim agreement to 2013?

It does not make sense to any of the drivers. It only adds to the perception of corruption and or weakness. The SDA needs to get this agreement signed soon and to the satisfaction of the drivers. The drivers are requesting only what can readily be considered realistic, basic and fair.

Below is a list of six key points that must be included in any further discussions and negotiations. The drivers will not support any agreement without these inclusions.

 

KEY POINTS FOR NEGOTIATION & DISCUSSION:

 

1 The basic rate of pay must always be at least equivalent to the national safety net minimum wage prescribed by FWA which will include casual loading to casual employees. For an adult driver of 21 years & over this would currently be basic rate of $15.96 per hour + casual loading of 23 % = $3.67 giving a minimum wage of $19.63 per hour.

 

2 That notwithstanding anything else in any agreement, under no circumstances whatsoever will the minimum wage payable by Dominos ever fall below the national prescribed minimum wage by FWA and that all employees engaged on a casual basis shall have the casual loading prescribed by FWA in the minimum wage safety net included in the minimum wage payable to any casual employee.

 

3 Payment of wages at the normal rate of pay (which will include casual loading to casual employees) shall be paid to all employees required to complete any training or attend any meeting whether that training or meeting is held in-store, via the Dominos training website DOTTI or by any other means. Payment of wages will be made for the period of time taken by the employee to complete the training specified by Dominos.

 

4 All tips received by drivers shall remain the sole property of the driver to whom they are given. At no time and under no circumstance will Dominos ever be entitled to any tip money received by any driver.

 

5 All hours worked by any employee regardless of what employment status the employee may hold will be paid for by the employer Dominos at the appropriate rate of pay. This will include all hours worked before, during and after any trading hours of any store.

 

6 That Dominos agrees to make good faith progress with the union towards including all casual staff to public holiday rates equivalent in ratio to those entitlements currently received by full-time, and part-time employees to the extent that by 2014, all casual workers including drivers be paid at the rate of double-time for all hours of work performed on public holidays.

The list is seen by drivers as realistic and only requests that the most basic of wage entitlements be payable.

Regardless, the workers are organising to achieve these goals. Our main aim atm is to increase membership of the General Transport Workers Association, now an affiliate of the ASF here in Australia so as the drivers can better represent at future hearings with numbers.

This is NOT over.

A flyer for distribution amongst drivers to inform them what has occurred and with contact details is in process along with a website pending domain creation later in the week.

In the meantime, you can find us on our brand new Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GeneralTransportWorkersAssociation

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