TWU pushes for 30-day pay

By: Anjali Behl


Union gathers support as evidence to prove proposed rate-related changes to GCCD justified

TWU pushes for 30-day pay
TWU NSW branch secretary Richard Olsen (centre) says a fixed-term payment rule will benefit the trucking community.

 

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has launched a petition with an aim to urge the New South Wales Government to make 30-day payment rule mandatory for transport operators across the state.

The petition comes ahead of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) hearing in relation to the proposed rate-related changes to the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD).

TWU’s proposal to vary the rules set out in the determination included a phased introduction of the suggested mandatory hourly and kilometre rates for relevant contracts of carriers within NSW.

The proposal also included varying the scope of obligations for principal contractors and geographical area of application of GCCD rules – a proposal approved by the Commission in June.

The union says its current petition "centres on rules in NSW in place for over 30 years which set minimum rates for truck drivers in NSW and allows them to go to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission when disputes with their employers arise".

"We want to raise awareness among the public about how important these rules are to truck drivers in NSW to ensure their jobs are sustainable and that safety is prioritised," TWU NSW branch secretary Richard Olsen says.

The petition also calls on the state government to "hold wealthy supermarkets and manufacturers to account for rates and conditions" in the industry.

"We also want the state politicians to go one step further and ensure drivers and transport companies are paid on time and that wealthy clients are finally held to account for shoddy practices in transport," Olsen says.

A spokesperson for the union tells Owner//Driver that it has already received over 800 sign ups since the petition was circulated a week ago.

The union takes a dig at the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) for seeking exemption for its members from the changes to the GCCD rules.

"It comes as no surprise that NatRoad is seeking to avoid these rules," Olsen says.

"They represent companies which rip drivers off.

"Their aim is to decrease wages across the board for all drivers – whether owner drivers or employee drivers.

"But drivers and their families are standing up to these tired tactics."

NatRoad hit back saying that the union is attempting to confuse the industry by passing on incomplete facts.

It is calling on NSW industrial relations minister Gladys Berejiklian to intervene in the matter and have the recent ‘non rate-related’ changes revoked.

"The unions and other interest groups set to gain from the new arrangements will tell you that these rules and rates have been in place for over 30 years, but what they won’t tell is they only applied to the Sydney area – not all of New South Wales as they do today," NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

"We want to help the NSW Minister for Industrial Relations intervene to take these industrial changes back to Sydney where they have always been and to do that we need signatures to help evidence the impact and opposition to these industrial changes.

"People hiring trucks don’t understand the confusing changes littered with exemptions and so they go with big trucking companies out of fear of getting a $10,000 fine.

"This overnight shift in the trucking industry is based on fear rather than economic modelling and it is impacting small trucking businesses."

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell had earlier stated that her office will urge the government to explore the possibility of a compulsory 30-day payment rule for all drivers in the trucking industry.

This prompted the union to question the Ombudsman as to why she expressed her opposition to the Contractor Driver Minimum Payment Road Safety Remuneration Order (RSRO), which mandated that all drivers must be paid within 30 days of work, only to later speak in favour of a similar approach.

The Ombudsman responded by saying that the planned inquiry will explore of benefits of compulsory codes for payment terms for all industries, not just transport.

 

 

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