TWU wage claim against Linfox rejected

TWU accuses Linfox of underpaying kilometre-hire employees, but industrial relations commission rejects the claim

By Brad Gardner | May 17, 2010

A union bid to force Linfox to increase the wages of linehaul truck drivers paid by the kilometre has been rejected.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission upheld Linfox’s policy of paying drivers on a weekly wage at its Chullora depot west of Sydney differently from drivers paid by the number of kilometres travelled.

Under a 2007 enterprise agreement those on a weekly wage received an annual five percent increase while pay for drivers under a kilometre scheme increased by 4 percent annually.

The Transport Workers Union argued for an adjustment to the agreement, claiming it was unfair because kilometre rates should not be negotiated at a lower percentage than hourly rates.

But citing the provisions dealing with remuneration, Commissioner Peter Connor says Linfox did nothing wrong.

"…the relevant provisions in the 2007 agreement are clearly confined to weekly hire employees and not to the employees on the kilometre rate who look elsewhere for adjustment to the rate they receive," Connor says.

Gaylynne Neill from Linfox told the Commission the operator met its obligations under the agreement because it was negotiated by elected employee representatives authorised by TWU officials.

"The base rates and kilometre rates stand alone and the amounts reflect the agreed position of both parties arising from the negotiations," Neill says.

The industrial dispute began on January 11 this year, but both parties failed to resolve their differences at conferences during January and February.

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