More education needed on pay rates, owner-driver says

By: Brad Gardner

Underpaid owner-driver says more resources need to be put into raising awareness among owner-drivers about their rights.

More education needed on pay rates, owner-driver says
Steve Newton, Steve Georges and TWU organiser Ray Shortill.

An owner-driver who recently received almost $25,000 in back-pay wants changes introduced in transport yards to raise owner-drivers’ awareness of their rights and entitlements.  

Steve Georges was paid incorrectly while hauling freight for Reliance Transport, but says he had no idea he was receiving the incorrect rate until the Transport Workers Union (TWU) told him. 

Claiming most owner-drivers are unaware of what rate they should be paid, Georges wants trucking companies to run site inductions for an extra 15 minutes to cover pay, rights and conditions.  

"That will give the owner-driver more information about his situation and the condition of work and he will know where he stands. So before he makes any decision, he knows what he is entitled to, his rights there, what he should get," Georges told Owner//Driver

He says the TWU, which secured Georges’ back-pay and which he is now a member of, should press for changes to site inductions if companies show a reluctance to implement them.  

"If the company [does] not care about this, then the union has got the power to make them change their policies and workplace regulations," Georges says. 

Georges, who has been in the trucking industry for about 15 years, says he did not know what rate he was entitled to when he provided his details to TWU delegate Steve Newton to inspect.  

The owner-driver worked out of a Toll IPEC yard for Reliance Transport and was supposed to receive the same rate of pay as a Toll employee.  

Newton followed up the issue with Reliance Transport, which paid Georges $24,800 despite the company believing he was owed about $11,000

"I think whatever rules and regulations, a lot of owner-drivers have no idea [about them] and I was one of them," Georges says. 

"We don’t know where to go to find out about our rights." 

Following the incident, Georges says fellow owner-drivers have contacted him about their pay and conditions.

He has provided advice, but he says some feel if they raise any issues they will lose work.  

"I personally know people who don’t want to come forward," he says.

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