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Toll Holdings Shuns MECA !

“Toll Holdings Shuns MECA !”

The union representing Auckland rail workers has accused transport giant Toll Holdings of using heavy-handed bullying tactics as the company issues termination letters to staff and challenges their right to remain on their existing Multi Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) with their new employer.

Tranz Rail, owned by Toll, is soon to hand over operation of the Auckland suburban rail company, Tranz Metro, to Connex. The Auckland Regional Council owns Tranz Metro and last year chose Connex to run the service from July 4, 2004.

The 116 Tranz Metro staff are part of the largest multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) in the country, which covers up to 3000 transport workers.

Toll Holdings, which is part of the MECA, is challenging the right of workers to remain under their existing collective agreement by refusing to let Connex become an employer party to the MECA, says Rail and Maritime Transport Union general secretary Wayne Butson.

“Toll is is not honouring the principle under which the agreement was made with Tranz Rail. Connex has stated their willingness to become a party to the MECA,” said Wayne Butson.

Toll didn’t want Connex to be part of the MECA because it thought that would make the union stronger, Wayne Butson said. “The company is deliberately attacking the collective and disregarding the rights of these workers. We aren’t trying to get stronger, rather we just want to maintain the arrangements that cover the workers presently.”

Toll Holdings has asked the Employment Relations Authority to urgently consider the matter, and the union said workers should not transfer to Connex while the case was on-going.

Toll has today stated that it will issue termination letters to the workers, while at the same time Connex will be sending out offers of employment letters.

“We asked Toll not to issue the termination letters and it has refused to grant our request,” Wayne Butson said. “The company is completely ignoring its responsibility of good faith to these workers and resorting to heavy-handed tactics.”

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