Hanson Reinstates Owner-drivers
Release date: 21/06/2013
We celebrated a victory last week when we reached an interim agreement with concrete company Hanson, with the assistance of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSWIRC), when the company agreed to reinstate around 130 owner-drivers who had been made redundant the week before.
Up to 130 owner-drivers were given notice at 2pm on Friday, June 7 that their contracts would be terminated by Christmas, with the first group of redundancies starting the following Tuesday.
Negotiations for a new long-term contract had begun in February last year when the company announced that it required owner-drivers to significantly drop their rates.
The TWU put an offer to the company on behalf of owner-drivers at the end of April 2013 which would have significantly reduced owner-driver rates in exchange for some very reasonable concessions.
The company did not respond for over a month and instead made the shock announcement that it would terminate all 130 owner-drivers by Christmas.
With the assistance of the NSWIRC, the parties agreed to the following: The eight owner-drivers who’d been made immediately redundant would be reinstated. That no further redundancies would take place for a certain period of time That there would be eight voluntary redundancies The TWU aims to lock in a deal which guarantees the future of the remaining 120 odd owner-drivers which is all we were after in the first place.
Once a deal is secured, there will be no further redundancies aside from the eight voluntary redundancies.
We congratulate Hanson for agreeing to reinstate the owner-drivers and come back to the negotiating table.
This is by no means settled and won’t be until we lock in a new deal.
I want to stress that the final decision rests with our rank-and-file members as every decision always does at the TWU.
Importantly, the role played by the NSWIRC in assisting to resolve this dispute once again proves the need for the existence of an independent tribunal that protects owner-drivers.
In NSW this has been the case on a bi-partisan basis for over 40 years and last year the establishment of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (Safe Rates Tribunal) created a similar independent national tribunal. The Safe Rates Tribunal has the ability to hear disputes involving owner-drivers anywhere in the country.
We publicly call on Tony Abbott and the Coalition to revise their position on the future of the Safe Rates Tribunal so that owner-drivers Australia wide can enjoy the protections available to owner-drivers in New South Wales.
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