Linfox and Toll oppose danger money for truck drivers

By: Brad Gardner


Industry’s two largest players reject proposal for owner-drivers to receive allowance for dangers they face on the road.

 

The two heavyweights of the Australian trucking industry have collectively called for the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) to reject a proposal for truck drivers to be paid a ‘danger money’ allowance.

Toll and Linfox lodged their opposition to driver Steve Corcoran’s plan during discussions on reforming pay rates for owner-drivers.

Corcoran wants drivers to receive $100 tax-free daily to account for the dangers they face on the road, but Toll and Linfox believe the idea should be canned.

"Linfox opposes this clause," the lawyer acting for Linfox, Maurice Baroni, told the RSRT.

Toll says it "maintains its opposition" to the payment being made.

Toll and Linfox are not alone, with Coles, the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) and the Australian National Retail Association (ANRA) all lining up to oppose Corcoran’s proposal.

However, there is support within the trucking industry for drivers to receive an allowance.

Former B-double driver Maxine Simounds is among a number of people who have written to the RSRT requesting it to introduce ‘danger money’.

"Truck drivers put there [sic] lives on the line daily and with the law of averages being so high because of time spent on our roads danger money would be well earnt," Simounds writes.

Simounds says drivers should receive a higher rate during holiday periods.

Kylie Dillon, whose partner is a truck driver, says ‘danger money’ means drivers could afford to take more time when out on the road to prevent incidents from occurring.

"Danger money for the transport industry is the least that can be done considering the risk that is faced each day by drivers trying to make a living," she says.

"Awareness created by the award of danger money may lead to greater awareness of the issues faced by drivers each day as well as action to prevent factors relating to the heightened risk of mortality."

Veteran truck driver Trevor Elward has also contacted the RSRT to express support for Corcoran’s proposal.

He says truck drivers work in a hazardous environment and that they should receive an allowance for doing so, similar to what is in place for Defence personnel serving overseas.

"I feel an allowance should be paid to drivers as it’s the most dangerous profession to be involved in," Elward says.

Work is still underway involving the RSRT and industry representatives on potential changes to owner-driver remuneration.

The RSRT recently released a draft proposal, developed in conjunction with industry, that limited fixed pay rates to the general freight sector and advocated fixed and variable payment schedules.

There is disagreement on a number of issues, including whether truck drivers should be paid when taking mandatory fatigue management breaks.

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