CONGRATULATIONS to our members at Toll who helped their mates in the United States win an historic union agreement on December 21, 2012.
This is the first union agreement for Port truckers in the US for almost 30 years and it will lead the way in organising the entire Port trucking industry in America.
This is a country where corporate giants abuse their power, forcing drivers to work under appalling conditions, with no adequate labour protection from government.
With no union protection drivers are forced to drive un-roadworthy trucks and get fired for taking toilet breaks - and that's just what our officials saw.
In 2012, three strong TWU members, Mark Trevillian, Euan Scott Bell and Jim McWilliams went to the US and joined TWU NSW State Assistant Secretary Michael Aird to help US Toll drivers in their fight for a fair union agreement.
At that point, Toll had refused to negotiate with drivers and our sister union in the US, the Teamsters.
Since then, we have come a long way.
After years of hard campaigning, Toll Group drivers in the US have won a landmark union agreement:
Wages almost doubled: with hourly pay rates jumping from $US12.72 to $US19
Massive improvements in conditions including overtime after 40 hours; better pension plans; healthcare; protection against unjust discipline and termination; paid time off and more.
I am proud of the fact TWU members across Australia stood strong and demanded Toll management enact a policy of One Toll where all Toll workers around the world have the same standards.
TWU Delegate and Toll driver Steve Newton put it well when he said: "All Toll workers, no matter where they are in the world should have the same standards and conditions".
"Toll management has committed to a One Toll policy and every trucker here in Australia is delighted that our brothers and sisters in LA will finally have a fair go," he said.
Here in Australia, Toll members will soon be surveyed to find out what they want in a new national union agreement and then TWU workplace delegates will begin negotiations with management.
With 2013 underway, I hope you are back on the road refreshed, ready to take on the year ahead and I wish you and your family a happy new year.