No decision from RSRT on whether to delay minimum rates


Minimum rates for owner-drivers are still due to begin on April 4.

 

The trucking industry will need to wait a little longer to find out if a new minimum rates scheme for owner-drivers will be delayed.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) yesterday wrapped up three days of hearings on applications to vary the April 4 start date of the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order (RSRO) without making a decision.

The RSRT held the hearings over the Easter holiday period after being inundated with submissions from sections of the trucking industry raising concerns about the timing and expected impact of the scheme. Once introduced, it will set hourly and kilometre payments for owner-drivers involved in supermarket distribution and linehaul operations.  

There is support among individual businesses and lobby groups for minimum rates to be pushed back to January 1, 2017 and for the rates to be phased in over three years to give all parties in the supply chain more time to understand their obligations and put measures in place to comply.

But the tribunal decided to hold off on a decision and instead call for response to a new proposal from the Transport Workers Union (TWU) that was lodged at the start of the hearings.

While the TWU initially refused to support a delay, it recently put forward a proposal for rates to be enforced from October 1.  

Unless the RSRT grants a delay, businesses have less than one week to make sure they have processes in place to ensure owner-drivers they use receive at the least the minimum rates the tribunal has mandated.

Critics of the scheme claim businesses will stop using owner-drivers and bring all their work in-house to avoid having to comply.

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