TWU says it will fight for safe rates

Workers union says it will argue for the RSRO in tomorrow’s Federal Court hearings

TWU says it will fight for safe rates
TWU boss Tony Sheldon says he will argue for the safe rates Order tomorrow.


The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says it will fight the stay on the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order (RSRO) at the federal court hearings tomorrow as the current situation "is creating uncertainty for drivers and is holding up a solution to the high death toll in truck crashes."

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says the Brisbane Court decision on Friday is a roadblock to driver safety that needs to be removed.

"Every year hundreds of owner drivers go bankrupt because they are not able to cover their costs with the tiny margins they are forced onto," he says.

"Every year hundreds of people lose their lives in truck crashes because of pressure on drivers.

"The government, transport employers and clients need to address the crisis in trucking and not stand in the way of a solution."

The TWU had thought they had achieved their desired outcome on Friday afternoon, after the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) ruled it would not delay the introduction of minimum hourly and kilometre payments for owner-drivers.

However, a matter of hours later the RSRT’s decision – which would have seen the safe rates Order begin yesterday – was frozen by a Federal Court Stay Order instigated by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and National Road Transport Association (NatRoad).

Since then, the Federal Government has sought feedback on the RSRT and made it clear it will seek to delay the Order until 2017 through legislation scheduled for April 18.

The culmination of events has angered both the RSRT and the TWU, with the former labelling a number of industry bodies "scandalous" for creating "uncertainty and confusion by actions or omissions".

The tribunal slammed some members for failing to gain proper legal advice and for spreading known untruths to their members.

One of those is that companies will go out of business, according to the TWU, a point that Sheldon is now pushing alongside the safety angle.

"Employer groups have been exposed on this," Sheldon says.

"They put around myths about owner drivers going out of business because of the Order yet they represent the companies which will supposedly be sacking them.

"The federal government is well known for backing up its mates in big business whether it is failing to hold banks to account for scandals or major firms on tax avoidance.

"We will be appealing to the court to set aside these vested interests and to allow the Order to proceed."

In the hours since the original verdict on Friday, a governmental review into the RSRT found it to be unnecessary, suggesting the industry would be better without it or major changes be made.




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