Tip Top drivers stand to ‘lose hundreds’

Tip Top contractor and union delegate Brett Clarke (front) with TWU organiser Lee Lawler and drivers and families at the Oak Flats Tip Top depot. Picture: DAVE TEASETip Top bakery drivers in the Illawarra say they will lose hundreds of dollars a week under a proposal to restructure the company.

At the end of their shifts yesterday, the 10 Illawarra-based drivers drove their vans to the company’s Oak Flats office to protest against plans to restructure runs and cut pay by 30 per cent.

A similar protest was held in Sydney where 50 trucks from the company’s Emu Plains and Chullora depots drove to the company’s head offices in North Ryde.

Transport Workers Union senior official Lee Lawler said Tip Top had given its drivers what amounted to an ultimatum.

‘‘When the company produced the new contracts, the drivers were told they had five days to sign an expression of interest, and if they didn’t sign it they’d have no job,’’ Mr Lawler said.

‘‘There’s no redundancy involved in any of this, it’s simply 90 days’ notice and you’ve got no job.’’

Mr Lawler said the TWU members were owner-drivers, who had to pay their business expenses out of the money they received, which would become much harder with a 30per cent pay cut.

He said drivers stood to lose between $500 and $1700 a week.

TWU NSW assistant secretary Richard Olsen said runs had been expanded or restructured resulting in more work, more hours and less pay.

A Tip Top spokesman said the company was ‘‘disappointed’’ with yesterday’s action by the union.

‘‘Tip Top greatly values the service provided by its distributors and it is with regret that a proportion of Tip Top distributors will be adversely impacted by these changes,’’ the spokesman said.

He said the restructure was part of an effort to remain a viable business in the face of a challenging market that included fewer customer drops.

The company was standardising contracts to ensure conditions were commercial and equitable for all distributors, he said.

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