LINFOX night shift workers at Sydney's Erskine Park are celebrating a big win around public holiday entitlements, which demonstrates the value of a strong union yard when going toe to toe with the boss for a fair go.
Last year Linfox managers suddenly decided to change how public holidays were treated for 15 night shift workers at the Linfox site in Sydney's west.
Management wanted workers to go to work on the night of the public holiday, meaning they couldn't relax with a few beers with their family and mates.
They would have been keeping an eye on their watches and not the snags on the barbie.
Well, our crew weren't going to take that.
The whims of managers shouldn't determine whether warehouse workers get to celebrate public holidays with their families or are forced to work.
The nature of night shift work means that your family time is already limited.
You work at night or drive long distances so you can support your family and pay the bills.
This attempt to further limit family time was a disgrace.
Because nearly everyone in the yard is a TWU member, we were able to call managers out.
When the local manager refused to see sense, our delegates got the TWU legal team involved.
We took the issue all the way to the Fair Work Commission, who just handed down a ruling backing our members' pre-existing right to spend public holidays with their families.
The keys to the success were the strength in the yard and the custom and practice clause members fought hard to put in the national workplace agreement.
This means managers cannot make changes on a whim without reaching agreement with the TWU members.
We hope this serves as a wake-up call for Linfox managers - don't try to arbitrarily upend your employees' lives.
Negotiate fairly and honestly, and don't waste time clogging up the courts.
If you're sick of bosses changing your schedule or messing you about, contact the TWU NSW on 1800 729 909 to find out how to fight back.
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