TWU wants 30-day payment terms throughout trucking industry

By: Brad Gardner

Provision guaranteeing 30-day payment for contractors should cover all transport operators, union says.

TWU wants 30-day payment terms throughout trucking industry
'Totally unsustainable': Michael Kaine says trucking companies should not have to wait months to be paid for work completed.


All transport operators should be paid within 30 days of completing a job, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) says.

Fresh from securing mandatory minimum rates for owner-drivers, the TWU is now trying to halt the alarming increase in the time it is taking parties in the supply chain to settle accounts with their transport providers.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) in 2014 ordered that contractor drivers be paid within 30 days of work, and TWU national assistant secretary Michael Kaine says the RSRT should now extend the measure throughout the industry.

Reports emerged last year of trucking firms having to wait as long as 120 days to receive payment, a practice Kaine fears is pushing companies close to financial ruin and undermining safety. 

"That is just totally unsustainable. It’s adding an unsustainable cost burden on transport operators and it is simply, apart from anything else, unfair," he says.

"It also exacerbates the danger of the financial squeeze these operators feel and that being passed back down and put on drivers in the industry."

"Now there is a 30-day payment term for owner-drivers in the 2014 order and we think that there should be a 30-day payment term across the industry and we think that is something that the tribunal should deal with sooner rather than later."

It was at a TWU safety summit in May last year where FBT Transwest managing director Cameron Dunn raised concerns about long payment times, telling attendees 120-day terms were becoming common in contracts put to tender.

His comments gained the attention of federal senator, and former TWU official, Glenn Sterle, who subsequently joined forces with Nationals senator John Williams to demand companies high up the supply chain accelerate payment times.

Sterle and Williams released a joint statement threatening to launch an inquiry into the practice and questioned how trucking companies could afford to pay wages and bills if they were having to wait months to receive payment for work.

Industry representative groups the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and NatRoad also highlighted concerns about the issue, with both vowing to do more to address it.


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