Extension Of General Carriers Contract Determination Coverage And Rights Good News For NSW Owner Drivers

Release date: 7/07/2016

TWU NSW Acting Secretary Richard Olsen has welcomed the decision by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to extend coverage of the General Carriers Contract Determination, saying that it was good news for Owner Drivers across NSW.

The extension of General Carriers Contract Determination* (GCCD) was handed down by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on 29 April, after more than two years of conciliated negotiations between industry representatives and the Transport Workers Union NSW, and became law on July 2.
“The GCCD has been in existence since 1984 for the Sydney metro region and local work across the State - this is simply an extension to cover Owner Drivers and work conducted across NSW,” Mr Olsen said.
“The GCCD has ensured thousands of mum and dad Owner Drivers have what amounts to an award underpinning their work, which ensures for cost recovery, stability and promotes safe systems at work. They also have access to the NSW IRC when they have disputes with their principal contractors.
“In the new decision we have also secured some important additional protections* for Owner Drivers, including: an obligation on principal contractors to pay for painting of vehicles; consultation over changes to fleets; and transparent, reasonable and lawful allocation of work.
“No decision has yet been made by the IRC on the extension of a rates schedule across NSW.
Mr Olsen said that Owner Drivers would quickly see the benefits of being covered by the contract determination.
“This is about extending rights to all Owner Drivers across the State and will bring stability and security to their business and their work.
“We are calling on the New South Wales Government to launch a thorough information and consultation period with Owner Drivers so they are aware of the changes and how they will benefit their businesses,” Mr Olsen said.
Thirty year Owner Driver Tony Matthews said that the Determination has allowed him to secure fair rates and a good deal from the big business principal contractors.
“I’m one of thousands of Owner Drivers here in Sydney that relies on the Contract Determination every day to underpin my rates. This means that like an employee driver, there is a floor on the amount I can earn, which allows me to do my job, maintain my truck and still support my family without driving every hour of the day,” Mr Matthews said.
Owner Driver Ray Childs said that the concrete industry had been covered by a separate contract determination since the 1970s and it had only been good news for small businessmen like him.
“Many Owner Drivers have hundreds of thousands of dollars locked up in trucks and goodwill that are underpinned by the concrete determination – without a determination and Chapter Six laws we’d be all be left high and dry,” Mr Childs said.

1) What is the General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD)
The GCCD is the Road Transport and Distribution Award for Owner Drivers. It sets a minimum rate of remuneration for Owner Drivers and provides for other terms and conditions that cannot be bargained away. It has been law in NSW for 32 years, but up until now it only applied to Cumberland County (Sydney metro area) and local work (within 50kms of place of business). The GCCD is underpinned by Chapter Six of the New South Wales Industrial Relations Act 1996.
The GCCD gives Owner Drivers:
·         The right to have a dispute heard in the Commission through a disputes settlement clause.
·         Mandated payment times.
·         Ensures that all contract carriers are paid for the work they do and the equipment they provide.
At the decision of the NSW Industrial Relation Commission, this Determination has now been extended across NSW. This includes where the majority of the work takes place in NSW or where the principal place of business is based in NSW.
The existing Interstate Determination, in place for over 20 years, has been repealed and will be replaced by the General Carriers Contract Determination
The carriage of livestock and transportation of primary produce (other than timber) are not covered by the General Carriers Contract Determination.

2) When does it come into effect?
The new GCCD was handed down on April 29th and it came into effect on July 2nd.

3) Is there anything else new within the ruling handed down by the NSW IRC?
Yes. There are a number of new clauses including
1.       Promotion of the GCCD – a principal contractor must give each contract carrier a copy of the GCCD within 7 days of engagement.  The principal must also give every contract carrier any variation of the GCCD (i.e. rate rise) within 7 days. The principal must display a copy of the GCCD in the workplace.
2.       Vehicles – the principal contractor must pay for the painting or removal of any decals or sign writing on the contract carrier’s vehicle.
3.       Uniforms – the principal must pay for the uniform of a contract carrier if they require the carrier to wear a specific one.
4.       Allocation of work and rostering – the principal contractor must now allocate work to contract carriers in a “transparent, reasonable and lawful” manner.
5.       Consultation for changes to fleet – similar obligation to employees. The principal must consult with contract carriers and representatives if they intend to change the makeup of the fleet of carrier (i.e. fleet owners, or employees).
6.       Recognition of TWU delegates – The principal contractor must recognize a duly appointed delegate of the TWU. The principal must give the delegate reasonable opportunity to discuss matters with management and other contract carriers. The GCCD now also contains notice board rights.
7.       Record keeping – principals now must keep comprehensive records of all start and finish times, kilometers travelled, any written contract, rosters, safe driving plans, all documents related to fatigue management issues.

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