K&S given deadline to file defence against union claims

K&S given until December 24 to file defence against union claims it should not charge drivers for damaging trucks

By Brad Gardner | December 15, 2009

K&S has been given until Christmas Eve to file a defence against claims it should not be able to charge drivers for damaging company vehicles.

In a case that has the potential to affect large parts of the industry, the Transport Workers Union wants the Federal Court to overturn the operator’s policy of deducting money from a driver who negligently damages a truck.

According to the TWU, a company should not be able to take an employee’s pay because insurance should cover any damage caused.

"They have to file their defence by December 24," a TWU spokesman says.

While not mentioning a specific date, the spokesman says the case is due to be heard in February 2010.

Holding a press conference last month, TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said K&S’ policy must not continue or it would set a precedent for other industries.

"This is the same as a bank blaming their employees if a computer or a chair breaks and then deducting their pay to pay for it. It is totally unreasonable," he told the media.

The union launched legal action after negotiations between the group and K&S earlier this year failed to reach a compromise.

K&S Managing Director Legh Winser previously declined to comment when contacted by ATN.

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