Back off, TWU tells rival union

CFMEU threatened with a backlash if it follows through on its desire to represent owner-drivers in Queensland

Back off, TWU tells rival union
Back off, TWU tells rival union
By Brad Gardner

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has been threatened with a backlash if it follows through on its desire to represent tipper truck drivers.

The Queensland branch of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) says it will fight against a proposal to allow the CFMEU to represent owner-drivers in collective negotiations in southeast Queensland.

While saying the TWU is not looking for trouble, Branch Secretary Hughie Williams tells ATN "we are quiet happy to have a fight".

He is considering launching a campaign against the CFMEU, whose actions Williams believes are an assault on the TWU’s territory.

"I think they have lost a few members in the mining industry and are looking for other avenues," Williams says.

He has criticised the CFMEU for not consulting him before submitting its proposal to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which will soon rule on the matter.

"It is disappointing when one union goes behind the back of another," Williams says.

He claims the relationship between both groups will now be affected and says it will be difficult for the CFMEU and the TWU to work together.

Williams has also questioned whether the CFMEU will have enough resources to devote to owner-drivers on top of its commitment to the construction, forestry, mining and energy sectors.

The ACCC last week supported granting the CFMEU the power to help tipper truck owner-drivers voluntarily negotiate contracts with earthmoving companies.

If accepted, the provision will allow the CFMEU to provide secretariat services and advice in southeast Queensland. The ACCC says it will not allow the union to conduct negotiations on behalf of owner-drivers.

In its submission to the competition watchdog, the CFMEU claimed its 24 owner-driver members struggled to receive adequate pay for their services, prompting the call for collective negotiation.

But the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) opposed the submission, saying owner-drivers should not be able to collectively bargain because they are businesses.

"The union is proposing that the commission treat part of a commercial contract as an employment contract and subject it to employment type regulation," QTA Chief Executive Peter Garske argues.

The ACCC has released a draft determination on the proposal, and has called for stakeholder submissions before making a final decision.

A spokesperson for the CFMEU was unavailable for comment.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the Owner Driver e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook


Trucks For Hire | Forklifts For Hire | Cranes For Hire | Generators For Hire | Transportable Buildings For Hire