GPS trackers over safe rates: ATA NSW

Trucking group says governments should support GPS trackers for long-haul operators instead of supporting a safe rates tribunal

By Brad Gardner | February 6, 2012

The Federal Government should support GPS monitors for trucks instead of pushing ahead with a safe rates tribunal, the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association says.

ATA NSW Manager Jill Lewis has weighed into the debate on the proposed tribunal, which is due to begin setting pay rates and pay related conditions for truck drivers from July 1.

Lewis says truck drivers travelling more than 500 kilometres should be encouraged to fit GPS devices to monitor speed and fatigue.

She says a good percentage of companies are already using monitoring tools and that governments should investigate the option, along with requiring safe driving plans for linehaul drivers and putting more effort into prosecuting customers under chain of responsibility law.

Lewis has dismissed the Road Safety Remuneration Bill, which will create the tribunal and is currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, as a "union power grab".

She has repeated Australian Industry Group claims the tribunal favours unions over employer representative associations.

The Bill requires associations to gain the approval of all their members before making applications to the tribunal – a move Lewis claims will lead to industrial retribution against those businesses that are named in an application.

"In addition, the Bill would enable the tribunal to impose orders on businesses that do not directly employ drivers. For example, if a company were to engage a contractor to do a road freight task, and the contractor then subcontracted the work further, the original company could be held to account for commercial arrangements it did not negotiate and had no power to alter," Lewis says.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has long argued the need for the tribunal to hold all parties in the supply chain accountable on the basis customers have the whip hand on pay rates and scheduling.
Amendment to original article: In an interview with ATN on February 6, Lewis stated "definitely" to the question: Should GPS trackers be made mandatory for long-haul operations? Lewis also said there should be a transition. On February 7, she told ATN her position is that GPS should be voluntary and that safe driving plans should be mandatory.

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