TWU will support transition to minimum rates for owner-drivers


Transport Workers Union says rates should be enforced from October 1.

 

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has given ground in its campaign for minimum rates for owner-drivers, announcing it will support a delay to the scheme and the preservation of return loads.

The TWU today issued a statement saying the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) should move ahead with the April 4 implementation date but give the industry until October 1 to begin paying the required rates.

The move marks a shift in the union’s stance, which was until today insistent that the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order be introduced as originally intended.

However, most groups and individuals who have appeared before the RSRT want the order delayed until next year.

The RSRT last week issued a draft ruling that, if introduced, will postpone minimum rates until January 1, 2017 and phase in the rates over 36 months.

The union has also sought changes to the RSRT’s orders to preserve split loads and back loads.

Critics of minimum rates believe owner-drivers will not be able to compete for these types of loads under the scheme because they will need to charge at least the minimum rate regardless of what they are carting and where to. Transport companies, on the other hand, will be able to undercut that rate to win the work.

The union’s proposal also includes a call for "full transparency" of client contracts. It says this is to ensure all contracts allow for minimum rates to be paid.

The TWU has again reiterated its call for all transport operators to be paid within 30 days of work, in line with the guarantee which exists for owner-drivers.

Many owner-drivers in recent weeks have expressed concerns about whether their businesses will survive under minimum rates, a situation TWU member and owner-driver Frank Black blames on parties in the transport supply chain resistant to change.

"The push-back by major clients is causing hard working transport workers to be concerned about getting paid a safe rate for all their work," Black says.

"That’s not right and that’s not fair. I’m appealing to transport operators to stand with us on this one: we can only change our industry by holding those at the top to account

 

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