Transport Workers Union takes its minimum rates fight to Canberra

Union is keeping the heat on politicians to support minimum rates for owner-drivers.

Transport Workers Union takes its minimum rates fight to Canberra
Owner-driver Frank Black is in Canberra today to sell the case of minimum rates to politicians.


The Transport Workers Union and its supporters are roaming the nation’s capital to press politicians to support minimum rates for owner-drivers

While more and more industry representative groups lobby for changes to the scheme, the TWU is holding meetings with politicians from various parties to argue its case for the reform to go ahead as planned on April 4.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) is due to decide later this month on whether to delay minimum rates until January 1 next year.

"Drivers are tired of working long hours and being put under constant pressure for little return. We have fought long and hard for these rates. It is time for them to be paid," owner-driver and TWU member Frank Black says.

The meetings in Canberra include discussions with key Senate crossbenchers Jacqui Lambie and Nick Xenophon.

The current Federal Government does not support the RSRT but it lacks the numbers in the Upper House to abolish it.

TWU boss Tony Sheldon says minimum rates are vital to ending heavy vehicle related deaths.

"If we are serious about ending this carnage then we need to tackle the cause of the crashes: pressure on drivers to speed, drive long hours and delay maintenance to their trucks," he says.

Sheldon blames wealthy parties in the transport supply chain, particularly large retailers, for encouraging opposition to minimum rates.

The impending rates scheme will put obligations on all supply chain participants to ensure owner-drivers receive minimum rates.

"The control these retailers have over our transport industry is seeing confusion and fear among transport operators and drivers. We are here today to say it is right and fair that drivers are paid these rates and right and fair that our roads are made safer. Retailers must stop putting profits before people," Sheldon says.

The union’s visit to Canberra comes one day after the RSRT agreed to accept submissions on whether to change the start date of minimum rates.

The union told the tribunal yesterday that it should stick to the current date of April 4, but the Australian Industry Group, NatRoad, the Federal Government and the Australian Long Distance Owner Drivers Association (ALDODA) want a delay.

The TWU is also planning to push businesses to pay more than the minimum rate once the scheme begins.


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