Owner-drivers get the nod to bargain with CEVA

Competition regulator gives the TWU and owner-drivers the green light to negotiate rates and conditions with CEVA

Owner-drivers get the nod to bargain with CEVA
Owner-drivers get the nod to bargain with CEVA
By Brad Gardner | July 27, 2012

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has been given the nod to bargain with CEVA Logistics on rates and conditions for owner-drivers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has given full authorisation for collective bargaining to begin August 17.

Assisted by the TWU, the 45 owner-drivers carrying cars for CEVA throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales will be able to bargain on carrying rates, penalty rates, demurrage rates and equipment for five years. The process also involves negotiating a mechanism for rates to rise annually.

The ACCC says collective bargaining will give owner-drivers greater input into their negotiations with CEVA.

"This can provide a mechanism through which the negotiating parties can identify and achieve greater efficiencies in their businesses," the ACCC’s final determination reads.

"For example, they may be able to make better (better informed and more efficient) investment and production decisions, including on costs, price and quantity."

The competition regulator highlighted the union’s claims that owner-drivers currently operate under unwritten terms and conditions and are required to accept the terms offered or find work elsewhere.

CEVA opposed the TWU’s application, claiming it would reduce competition. It wanted any ruling to expire after three years. However, the ACCC rejected the company's concerns.

"CEVA competes with other national and Queensland-based car carrying businesses, including divisions of large national logistics business such as Toll and Patrick," the ACCC says.

"The ACCC considers that marginal changes, if any, to CEVA’s costs or operations are unlikely to have a substantial effect on this area of competition."

The involvement of owner-drivers in collective bargaining will be voluntary, while CEVA does not have to negotiate with drivers as a group if it chooses not to.

The ACCC says 31 of the 45 owner-drivers working for CEVA are TWU members and that the union will invite all owner-drivers to take part in collective bargaining. The authorisation does not permit collective boycott activity.

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