Attempts by StarTrack to deny officials from the Transport Workers’ Union their legal right of entry are an outrageous attack on their workers’ rights to union representation and a safe workplace.
An official from the TWU attempted to exercise his legal right of entry under work health and safety laws at the company’s Minchinbury site earlier today, over the company’s failure to consult with its workforce in relation to their COVID Safe plan – consultation it is legally obligated to undertake.
StarTrack management took the extreme step of calling the NSW Police – only to have work health and safety regulator Comcare confirm the official’s legal right to enter and escort him onto the premises.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said the company should have the book thrown at them over their outrageous attempts to silence workers voicing their health and safety concerns.
“Workers at StarTrack have legitimate concerns about not being consulted over the COVID Safe plan at their workforce, and StarTrack responded shamefully to those concerns by calling the Police in an attempt to silence their workers” Mr Olsen said.
“This is a hysterical overreaction of the worst kind, and thankfully Comcare recognised this and helped escort the official onto the premises.”
“We hope the regulator throws the book at StarTrack to send a strong message to all businesses about the importance of right of entry laws in maintaining safe and healthy workplaces.”
“It does beg the question – if StarTrack has nothing to hide, why go to such lengths to stop their workers talking to the union about work health and safety concerns?”
“Just a couple of weeks ago this site was shut down because a massive number of workers were exposed to COVID – so there are clearly legitimate grounds for concern about whether the COVID Safe plan is up to scratch.”
In denying the officials access, StarTrack claimed their COVID Safe plan prohibited all external visitors from attending any of their sites – despite the plan containing at least 6 separate provisions specifically relating to COVID-safe measures for visitors.
Today’s events come after another TWU official was prevented from exercising a right of entry at the company’s Tuggerah site on the Central Coast. The TWU Victorian branch also currently has a case before the Fair Work Commission over StarTrack’s refusal to allow officials in that state to enter sites under separate Fair Work right of entry laws.
The company is also currently in enterprise agreement negotiations with the TWU, with more than 2,000 StarTrack workers gaining the right to take industrial action last week after a protected action ballot returned a ‘yes’ vote of above 90%.
Media Contact: Mitch Wright – 0430 186 590