Twenty percent of Qld transporters caught ripping off workers

By: Troy Bilsborough


Almost a third of road transport businesses are failing to comply with workplace laws, a national campaign by the Federal

Almost a third of road transport businesses are failing to comply with workplace laws, a national campaign by the Federal Workplace Ombudsman has revealed.

About 120 truckies, bus drivers and other workers are likely to be reimbursed around $135,000 after workplace inspectors discovered they were underpaid.

Almost $100,000 of the underpayments have occurred in the short-distance freight industry in Queensland.

The Federal Workplace Ombudsman says it has checked the books of 362 employers nationally and identified 114 companies with issues.

Twenty percent of Queensland companies audited so far have breaches and inspectors believe with 58 employers still to be audited, the percentage will rise.

Some 66 percent of Victorian passenger transport businesses were found to be non-compliant, as were 45 percent of long-distance freight businesses in regional NSW.

However, Workplace Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says the campaign has helped to better inform employers of their obligations.

"Transport is an industry that is a source of many of our workplace queries and complaints, so education is a vital part of our role," he says.

The Agency wrote to more than 9000 transport industry businesses earlier this year alerting employers to the targeted campaign.

"The road transport industry has a significant number of vulnerable workers, including trainees and apprentices, and this campaign will help ensure they receive their proper entitlements," Campbell says.

Issues identified included employers underpaying cleaners and office staff, using the wrong pay scale, underpayment of drivers’ pay-per-kilometre and underpayment of drivers’ weekend, overtime and public holiday rates.

Campbell says most breaches were inadvertent and are being rectified voluntarily, although legal action is being considered in one instance. About 100 audits remain to be finalised.

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