Industry input sought on tribunal's work program

Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal seeks trucking's input on what pressing matters it should address under its work program

By Brad Gardner | September 6, 2012

A new powerful tribunal equipped to set pay rates and conditions for truck drivers has sought trucking’s input on the pressing industry matters that need to be investigated.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, which was established on July 1, is currently developing a yearly work program that will detail potentially unsafe practices that need attention.

If it deems a practice unsafe, the tribunal will be able to issue a remuneration order to rectify the problem. The tribunal must consult with industry in preparing its work program.

"Accordingly, the Tribunal invites written submissions from interested persons on the matters the Tribunal should identify in its annual work program and the priority attaching to such matters," President Jennifer Acton says in a written statement.

"The matters may be any or all of the sector or sectors of the road transport industry, the issues for the industry or a sector of it and/or practices affecting the industry or a sector of it."

Acton, who is also the deputy president of Fair Work Australia (FWA), says the industry has until 4pm of October 2 to submit its proposal by post, fax or email.

She says the annual work program will be published on the tribunal’s website.

Established in response to findings linking low rates of pay to poor safety, the tribunal has been handed the power to set rates and conditions for drivers and sub-contractors and issue rulings binding all parties in the supply chain.

It can hear disputes between drivers and employers, and sub-contractors and prime contractors. Operators will also be able to drag customers to the tribunal.

In creating the tribunal, the Federal Government said its role would be to ensure truck drivers are paid for all the work they do.

Although the work program will guide the tribunal’s actions, it will be free to take the initiative to act on any matter it considers needs attention.

The tribunal’s eight-person membership includes a mixture of FWA, union and industry representatives.

Tothag Transport Director Tim Squires will sit on the tribunal, along with Paul Ryan from the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO).

A former federal senator and Transport Workers Union (TWU) president, Steve Hutchins and academic Professor Ann Williamson are also members.

The tribunal’s dispute resolution role will be delayed until January 1, 2013 to give it time to establish its operations and complete its work program.

Higher pay rates? Paid waiting time? What burning issues should the tribunal look at first? Leave your thoughts below.

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