BP must ensure its contractor Toll respects union and pays decent wages in New Zealand

13.05.2014

IndustriALL Global Union is calling on BP to ensure respect for workers in its supply chain as tanker driver contractor Toll pays salaries a third lower than national standard and refuses to bargain in with FIRST Union in New Zealand.

Six tanker drivers are making a stand for decent wages in the Northland region of New Zealand. IndustriALL’s affiliate FIRST Union organises tanker drivers in the majority of contractors in New Zealand where the national standard salary is NZ$32 per hour. However oil and gas giant BP only works with non-union contractors who pay drivers less than two thirds the national standard, NZ$20 per hour.

BP does not pay the tanker contractors enough for the drivers to earn the national industry standard. Therefore today’s call has gone from IndustriALL to BP asking for intervention and resolution to this dispute that is representative of BP’s breach of its responsibilities and CSR commitments to the conditions in its supply chain and contractors.

Toll is now refusing to bargain with FIRST Union, even refusing a request from the government appointed mediator. The workers have been on strike since 1 May following three months of bargaining.

In writing to BP CEO Robert Dudley today, IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina said:

I formally ask for your management’s intervention to ensure that BP’s contractor Toll returns to the negotiations, recognizes FIRST Union as its local bargaining partner and bargains in good faith a new collective agreement that includes a salary in line with the national standard of NZ$32 per hour.

Also on the issue of worker safety, Raina wrote:

We are both fully aware of the potential dangers in the transportation of petroleum. Experience from all over the world shows that developed industrial relations with the appropriate trade union is key to ensuring safety at work.

The striking workers together with their national union FIRST Union have been picketing BP garages and receiving community support and strong press coverage.

FIRST Union organizer Jared Abbott said:

While other petrol stations engage companies that pay their delivery drivers a fairer wage, BP is happy to sit by and preside over much poorer wages. They need to front up and be a part of the solution to low wages at Toll Carriers.

Write to Toll management with the messaging tool connected to this article.