Employer group concerned about fixed rates for contractors

Proposal for minimum contractor payments is complex and confusing, Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation claims.

Employer group concerned about fixed rates for contractors
The RSRT is now taking submissions on its draft order for contractor driver payments.


The Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) says the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT’s) draft order to provide minimum rates for contractor truck drivers is complex and difficult to apply to different circumstances.

In partnership with the Queensland Transport Association (QTA), it is urging members to provide their own feedback on the potential business impacts before it makes a formal submission to the RSRT.

In a special circular to QTA members, the ARTIO says there are a number of uncertainties within the order.

In particular, it says it remains unclear how the order will apply to a subcontractor who may have freight from several different consignees in the one load.

"It is conceivable that disputes will arise or the full rate would be paid by multiple parties," the ARTIO suggests.

The organisation also laments that the order refers only to hourly and per-kilometre rates, and not trip or pallet rates that many contractors are more familiar with.


The ARTIO has a few concerns about minimum rates for owner-drivers.

Posted by Owner Driver on Saturday, 12 September 2015


There is also no standard conversion available for these rates, it says.

It says the clause entitled 'Supply Chain Contracts' needs to be clearer, potentially with guiding notes or examples.

"We understand that if a consignor and prime contractor create a contract which will utilise contractor driver labour, the contract must be sufficient to pay the order rates," the ARTIO notes.

"Does this create a situation where contractor drivers will not be used to avoid the provisions of the order?"

The ARTIO says the number of classifications and variable inputs used to determine each rate may also prove too wieldy and sometimes irrelevant.

"If someone is a transport worker grade one, the order contains rates for them driving a twin steer bogie axle with multi-combination trailers [which would make them] by definition a transport worker grade six, seven, or eight."

The ARTIO adds that there is the potential for drivers to "oversupply" larger or more powerful equipment than may be required for the job at hand, thereby unfairly increasing the rate to be paid.

The ARTIO has urged its members to carefully study the draft order, and advise it of any potential impacts – including where the order may increase costs, increase regulatory burden, or create contractual or operational difficulties.

Submissions to the RSRT on its draft order are due by September 23.


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