Transport Workers Union gives ground on minimum rates

By: Brad Gardner


Union puts forward proposal that will delay rates and gradually introduce new scheme.

 

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has made a last-ditch effort to prevent the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) minimum pay rates scheme for owner-drivers from being delayed until next year.

Just prior to the RSRT holding three days of hearings on applications to vary minimum pay rates, the union lodged a proposal with the tribunal outlining a different way forward for the controversial reform.  

Along with reiterating its proposal for minimum rates to be enforced from October 1 this year instead of the planned date of April 4, the TWU has recommended the rates be phased in over one year.

Under the TWU proposal it means the industry will need to pay 80 per cent of the mandatory rate from October 1, 90 per cent from April 1 next year and then the full amount from October 1, 2017.

The RSRT yesterday issued a notice to the industry to respond to the union’s recommendation. It gave interested parties until today to get their responses in.

The union’s submission also calls for a commitment from parties to support 30-day payment terms throughout the trucking industry and consultations from now until October 1 to resolve concerns relating to backloads, split loads, fuel costs and exclusions.

The trucking industry is concerned backloads and split loads will be a thing of the past under minimum rates because the RSRT’s scheme requires the same rate to be paid regardless of the task being performed.

The TWU’s proposal also wants supply chain contracts exposed to full scrutiny. It says doing so will ensure the contracts contain terms to certain owner-drivers receive their entitled rates.

Once introduced, the RSRT’s minimum rates shceme will set mandatory hourly and kilometre payments that owner-drivers must receive. The payments are designed to ensure owner-drivers receive rates high enough to remain viable and do their jobs safely.

However, there are concerns in the industry the payments are significantly higher than existing rates and will price owner-drivers out of the market for work.

 

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