We’re struggling to survive: Owner-drivers group

Association wants the RSRT to implement its plan to reform owner-driver remuneration.

We’re struggling to survive: Owner-drivers group
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal wants owner-drivers to be paid for time spent queuing.


A South Australian trucking group has joined those supporting changes to owner-driver remuneration, saying reform is needed to keep small businesses viable.

The Owner Drivers Association of SA is in lock-step with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to secure minimum pay rates for owner-drivers.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) has proposed fixed hourly and kilometre pay rates for owner-drivers from January 1, 2016, including payment for time spent loading, unloading and queuing. It last week finished four days of hearings on the issue.

"I fully support the work of the tribunal. We need to set a fair, minimum rate of pay for all owner drivers. We’re small businesses and right now we’re struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table," Owner Drivers Association SA CEO Jeff Matthews says.

"In this industry we’ve been fighting for increased, safe rates of pay for decades, literally decades.  Consider all the costs that an owner driver is confronted with: loan repayments, fuel, insurance, maintenance, the list goes on. Many owner drivers can barely even make a profit."

Matthews says the association has been with the union since the start of the campaign to secure minimum rates.

Like the TWU, Matthews blames the commercial pressures on owner-drivers for undermining road safety.

"Those pressures put owner drivers and the community at risk every day of the week. The time for change is now," he says.

However, employer associations and individual trucking companies have warned that the proposed rates are too high and will lead to owner-drivers being priced out of the market.

The TWU has rejected the claims and says there will always be demand for owner-drivers.

"It’s outrageous that some players in the industry – those making the mega profits with vested interests – would try and orchestrate a scare campaign like this," TWU SA and Northern Territory secretary Ray Wyatt says.

"Owner drivers are a critical part of our industry, and always will be. We need to pay them in a way that is fair and will lead to safer roads."

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