Priddle Transport busted for ripping off driver

Ron Priddle Transport and Logistics fined for not paying loading and unloading allowances and other driver entitlements

Priddle Transport busted for ripping off driver
Priddle Transport busted for ripping off driver
July 26, 2010

Trucking companies that fail to pay driver entitlements may face hefty fines after Ron Priddle Transport and Logistics was busted for underpaying its employee.

The Melbourne Magistrate’s Court has fined the company $25,000 and Director Ron Priddle $5000 after finding that a long-distance driver was underpayed $5300 between January 2007 and January 2008. Based in Victoria’s south west, the operator was ordered to back-pay the driver with interest.

The Fair Work Ombudsman, which launched legal action against Priddle, argued the driver was not paid for loading and unloading, living away from home, annual leave entitlements and superannuation.

It originally alleged Priddle had underpaid the driver more than $20,000 between 2005 and 2008.

"The courts are clearly taking a dim view of those who deliberately flout the law and refuse to rectify issues of non-compliance when we request they do so," Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says.

The ombudsman took legal action after claiming Priddle failed to comply with its request to give it access to the driver’s employment records.

Under workplace laws, employers must provide employment records if requested.

The company faced a maximum penalty of $33,000 for each underpayment, while Priddle could have been fined up to $6600.

Individuals who refuse to provide records can be slapped with $5500, with companies facing $1100 fines.

Campbell says the transport industry is ranked sixth in the number of industries that generate the most of the ombudsman’s compliance work.

"But, on a positive note, we are encouraged that more employers in the transport industry are now working co-operatively with our inspectors to resolve workplace complaints voluntarily," he says.

A campaign focused on the transport industry in 2008 found 68 percent of the 362 businesses audited were compliant, Campbell says.

Priddle’s sentence comes as the ombudsman begins educational visits to 280 NSW businesses over a six week period.

Businesses in North Ryde, Chatswood, Brookvale and Hornsby will be randomly doorknocked and handed information packs on workplace laws.

The packs include fact sheets, templates and guides designed to help businesses comply with their industrial relations obligations.

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