TWU and NatRoad continue IR battle

Photography by: Greg Bush

The TWU has accused NatRoad of attempting to reduce the size of employee truck drivers’ pay packets in NSW.

TWU and NatRoad continue IR battle
TWU NSW Branch Secretary Richard Olsen


The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is opposing an application by industry lobby group NatRoad which the union says aims to rip truck drivers off by stopping them getting minimum rates of pay which have been in force for thousands of drivers in NSW for over 30 years.

The TWU argued in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on August 12 against an attempt by NatRoad to have its members exempt from rules on rates and which also ensure safety systems in trucking. A date for a hearing on the matter has been set for September 2 this year.

"This is a disgraceful attempt by industry lobbyists NatRoad to take money away from the most vulnerable elements of our industry – owner drivers," says Richard Olsen, TWU NSW Branch Secretary.

The TWU states that NatRoad will attend separate hearings on August 14 in which the association will argue for national reductions to wages and allowances for employee drivers, as part of a review of transport awards.

This includes demands for the introduction of part-time work, so that drivers would work full time hours but only get paid annual leave, sick leave and other entitlements based on their part time guaranteed hours.

The TWU says it will also include demands to reduce the agreed distance and time it takes to travel between cities – to pay drivers less.

"NatRoad’s move should come as no surprise as they, along with the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), have done nothing but try to drag this industry down over the years: by opposing a requirement to pay drivers within 30 days of work; by opposing client accountability for safety and rates in their supply chains; and by opposing employee protections when safety and other working conditions are raised with employers and clients," Olsen adds.

The TWU quotes Ray Childs, an owner-driver who has received the minimum rates since they were introduced in 1984. Childs says NatRoad are trying to threaten drivers’ livelihoods.

"Without these rules our jobs and our businesses are under threat. To suggest that after 30 years these rates should not be paid by certain operators is a slap in the face for drivers," Childs says.

"The aim by NatRoad and the ATA is to reduce rates for all drivers – either employee or owners-drivers. This is a despicable attempt at wage theft which will leave the industry unsustainable," Olsen adds.

Earlier, NatRoad has hit out at the  "coordinated club" for unanimously opposing its application seeking exemption for its members from the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD) during a directions hearing at the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on July 29.

According to NatRoad the "coordinated club" includes the TWU and the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO), as well as TNT and Toll.

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