TWU to employer groups: Stand with us on 30-day payments

By: Brad Gardner


Union wants industry united on payment terms for trucking operators

 

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is reaching out to employer representative bodies in a bid to secure 30-day payment terms for all trucking operators. 

Owner-drivers are already guaranteed payment within 30 days for completing work, and the union says this should extend to cover the entire industry. 

Earlier this year the TWU told Owner//Driver it planned to pursue the matter with the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), which set payment terms for owner-drivers in 2014. 

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says the union previously sought support from employer groups, and it is now holding discussions with them again to present a united front to the RSRT.  

"We’re hopeful that the employers will stand up with us this time to give them 30 days, because we will certainly stand with them," he says.

"We are saying to companies again and the employer associations: stand up with us and demand the companies you represent get paid within 30 days."

The TWU has questioned if existing payment practices are sustainable, particularly if trucking operators are paying owner-drivers within 30 days but are being forced to wait much longer to receive payment from their clients. 

Groups including the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and NatRoad last year announced they would be focusing on trying to improve payment terms for trucking operators, which are stretching out to 120 days in some cases.

Politically, federal senators Glenn Sterle and John Williams have been publicising the matter to pressure trucking’s clients to settle accounts quickly. They recently passed a non-binding motion calling for 30-day payment terms

Sheldon says the RSRT can pass a binding order, similar to what it did for owner-drivers, if trucking clients ignore the efforts of Sterle and Williams. 

"But employer associations have to be able to demonstrate a will to be able to do it and they need to get their act together and do it. We’ll support them, not just talk about it," he says.

Sheldon’s call for employer associations to work with the TWU to secure 30-day payment terms for trucking operators follows his recent comments for owner-drivers to band together and support the introduction of minimum rates

The new system is due to begin on April 4 and will mandate minimum payments for owner-drivers working in the supermarket distribution and linehaul sectors.

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