RSRT limits scope to five sectors

Retail leads a list of five sectors the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal will investigate under its first annual work program

RSRT limits scope to five sectors
RSRT limits scope to five sectors
By Brad Gardner | December 10, 2012

Damaging claims levelled at retailers over the way they treat the trucking industry will be put to the test, with the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal declaring the sector will be the first to be investigated next year.

The RSRT’s annual work program, released today, puts retail at the top of a list of five sectors to be scrutinised. The tribunal will also focus on the livestock, bulk grain, interstate long distance and the intrastate long distance sectors.

RSRT President Jennifer Acton says interested parties seeking a road safety remuneration order against one or more of the sectors in the list need to submit their claims by March 4.

"We will establish and publish a timetable and processes for the remaining conduct of the inquiry at a later date, once we are aware of the nature and extent of the material which has been forwarded to the Tribunal…We will also conduct conferences and hearings, as necessary," Acton says.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has constantly hammered the retail sector over its treatment of truck drivers, accusing the majors of pressuring them to commit unsafe practices to meet deadlines.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon says the tribunal’s decision to prioritise retail is a victory for drivers, small businesses and the travelling public.

"With one in three trucks across the country doing work for big retailers like Coles, major retailers have unprecedented economic power over the industry," he says.

"They use this power to dictate prices, standards and conditions that see many truck drivers and operators bear costs that ordinarily would be borne by the retailers."

Highlighting industry concerns that the tribunal’s draft annual work program risked being unmanageable, Acton says the RSRT decided to limit its efforts "to a few sectors".

"We have deleted the rural sector, which was included in the draft first annual work program, having regard to the range of other sectors now in the list," she says.

Acton says those requesting road safety remuneration orders need to submit evidence to back up their claims. She says they can also offer suggestions for worksite inspections or broader industry consultation on the development of orders.

Set up in response to findings linking low rate of pay to poor safety outcomes in trucking, the RSRT has the power to issue orders on remuneration and remuneration-related conditions binding all parties in the supply chain if it believes the orders will improve safety.

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