TWU rallies in Adelaide to support minimum rates for owner-drivers


The TWU has assembled its troops in Adelaide to champion minimum rates.

  

Truck drivers and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) have a staged a rally in downturn Adelaide in support of impending minimum rates for owner-drivers.

Set payments for owner-drivers working in the supermarket distribution and linehaul sectors are due to begin on April 4, and today’s rally was aimedat supporting the scheme and encouraging parties to comply with it.

The TWU is particularly focused on clients in the transport supply chain, which will need to ensure the contracts they put to tender are sufficient to allow transport operators to pay owner-drivers the required rate.

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says truck drivers need to stand together to pressure clients into meeting their obligations.

"I am calling on drivers to take direct action with their work mates to ensure these rates are paid by transport operators and clients. This is a fight for rights: the right for all road users to be able to come home safely and for drivers to do their jobs safely," Sheldon says.

"Drivers must also stand up against exploitation and companies hiring drivers illegally. This also affects all the community as we saw recently in Sydney when a truck caused traffic chaos on the M5 airport tunnel after the drivers on visas were unable to reverse the vehicle."

The minimum rates to be paid to drivers will include payment for time spent queuing, refuelling a vehicle, taking mandatory fatigue management rest breaks and filling out work diaries.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) released its decision on minimum rates in December last year. Payments will vary based on the task being performed and the equipment being used, such as if the hirer supplies the trailer.

Minimum rates are designed to ensure owner-drivers receive enough money to safely complete their jobs and maintain their vehicles.

"Drivers need to know they can feed their family and pay bills. They need to know they don’t have to cut corners on safety," truck driver and TWU member Frank Black says.

The introduction of minimum rates has split opinion the trucking industry, with some associations fearing owner-drivers will be priced out of the market

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