NUW's 'cynical coverage grab' riles TWU

TWU fires off complaint to ACTU after the NUW lodges a submission with the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

By Brad Gardner | October 23, 2012

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the National Union of Workers (NUW) are butting heads again, this time over the latter’s decision to lodge a submission with the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

The TWU has fired off a complaint to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) after the NUW wrote to the tribunal asking it to focus on insecure work practices when it begins investigating the road transport industry next year.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon has also lodged a response to the NUW’s submission with the tribunal, which is heavily critical of the union.

"The TWU regrets that the Tribunal has potentially been put in a position at this early stage of having to turn its mind away from life-saving initiatives and towards dealing with such a cynical coverage grab," Sheldon writes.

"Accordingly, in an attempt to remove or at least defer the need for the Tribunal to be so diverted, the TWU has referred the matter to the Australian Council of Trade Unions for resolution. The Tribunal will note that the ACTU submission identified the TWU alone as the relevant affiliate for the purposes of the Tribunal."

The Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) has also raised concerns about the NUW’s involvement.

However, NUW General Secretary Charles Donnelly says the tribunal invited the union to make a submission. Furthermore, he says employees in the road transport industry are eligible to be members of the NUW.

"We look forward to the Tribunal publishing its annual work program in due course and to positively participating, through formal submissions where necessary, to the Tribunal’s on-going work," Donnelly wrote to the tribunal in response to the TWU’s and the ARTIO’s claims.

Sheldon also used his written response to reiterate the need for the tribunal to focus on the retail sector. He claims most of the industry's problems occur in the sector "with particular frequency and dangerous intensity".

Stakeholder submissions will be used to guide the development of the tribunal’s annual work program, which will outline the industry sectors and/or practices to be investigated to see if they are encouraging unsafe behaviour.

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