Little turns back on Toll board amid other interests

Toll Holdings' former boss Paul Little has walked away from plans to rejoin the transport company's board due to "other commitments", including being chairman of embattled AFL club Essendon.

Toll Holdings' former boss Paul Little has walked away from plans to rejoin the transport company's board due to "other commitments", including being chairman of embattled AFL club Essendon.

Mr Little had planned to return to Toll's board a year after he stepped down as chief executive in 2011.

But Toll said on Tuesday that Mr Little had advised the company that "due to other commitments he is not able" to return to its board. He will retain his role as a member of Toll's Singapore business board.

Mr Little, who turns 66 in December, became chairman of Essendon in July after stockbroker David Evans quit following the fallout from a supplements scandal.

The architect of the transport company had faced opposition from some shareholders, who felt Mr Little was looking to return too soon.

Apart from his role at Essendon, Mr Little also has his own property development company.

Meanwhile, Toll has averted strike action after reaching an in-principle agreement on Tuesday with a union over a new enterprise deal covering more than half the company's workforce.

The company and the Transport Workers Union resolved a sticking point over whether to extend the agreement to all new work.

While the labour agreement will apply only to existing Toll workers, the union will help set conditions for staff who work for any new business the company takes over.

The deal also includes wage rises of 15.25 per cent over four years.

The in-principle agreement will now be put to the union's delegates.

The breakthrough comes a week after staff voted in favour of legally protected strike action, which could have included work stoppages of up to 72 hours.

The enterprise agreement covers about 10,000 workers at Toll.

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