Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Toll pushed to improve safety

In June 150 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) occupied Toll Headquarters at Homebush in Sydney. The occupation was in response to an attempted blocking of a National Stevedoring Code of Practice (NSCOP) just a week after the death of a Toll Holdings worker in Melbourne.

By Garry Duffy, Socialist Party

Toll Holdings is Australia’s largest transport company and on the board of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) – a peak national body representing major companies in freight transport.

Despite wharfies being 14 times more likely to die than the average Australian worker, ALC General Manager Michael Kilgariff said in late May that: “We would prefer the stevedoring code of practice not go ahead at all.”

MUA assistant secretary Warren Smith said “Companies can say safety is the priority – they can put it on the sleeves of our shirts, on the bottom of their emails – but when push comes to shove, we know profits come before people.”

Following the action, and subsequent meetings with Toll, the MUA believes it can get Toll to agree to most of the NSCOP. Toll denied any involvement with the ALC’s attack on the code but would not agree to publically lobby for the code.