August 14, 2020

TWU members stop work at Owens

On the waterfront, the big red trucks of Owens Transport are pulling up, stopping work.

Breakfast cereals, building product supplies and consumer goods shipments will not be moving today.

Owner-Drivers are taking action because the company has refused to negotiate following the sudden shutdown of an agreement that has been operating for 16 years.

Drivers are NOT asking Owens for an increase, they just want to maintain the Union negotiated agreement that has been in place for 16 years. Owens are refusing and have appeared yesterday in front of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission saying that there is nothing the commission can compel them to do.

Richard Olsen, State Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union of NSW , said, “Owens wants to cut the agreement that ensured surety, pay and conditions that have been in place for 16 years. The company is pushing for the drivers to go backwards, with individual agreements that mean drivers costs are higher, they face all the risk while Owens takes the profit from the work these drivers do.”

“Transport workers at Owens have been providing a critical service during the current pandemic, a significant contributor to keeping the economy on the move moving goods from Port Botany across NSW. Clients serviced by Owens include Kelloggs, James Hardie and Global Direct. Their shipments will not be moving today.” Mr Olsen said.  

Owens trucks are operated by 45 Owner Drivers. The agreement they have covers their income and supplies them with a truck in a goodwill arrangement that drivers pay back in a loan as part of the agreement.

Richard Olsen said, “One driver has reported to the Union that he signed into a $100,000 contract with Owens and was then informed the next day that his agreement was changing. A stealthy Saturday night email in May of this year announced to drivers that things were going to get harder for them.”

Owens stance against the drivers effectively tells drivers it’s our way or the highway.


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