TWU

Latest $15,000 Payout For Owner Driver Highlights Need For Urgent Reform Of NSW Tip Truck Industry

Release date: 15/07/2015

TWU NSW MEDIA RELEASE, 15 July 2015

Transport Workers Union NSW Secretary Michael Aird has renewed calls for the State Government to clean up the tip truck industry after the latest successful TWU prosecution of a subcontractor who refused to pay his owner drivers and attempted to phoenix his company.

Mr Aird was speaking after the NSW Industrial Relations Commission fined Brandon Connell Transport almost $15,000 for failure to pay an owner driver engaged on a number of school construction projects.
 
“Tip truck owner drivers are telling me that the industry resembles the Wild West right now, with shonky operators like this guy running wild. What’s especially concerning is that he was also engaged in State Government projects,” Mr Aird said.
 
“Billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money is being spent on projects across the State, but it seems like there is no sheriff on the beat to make sure the rules around rates and safety are being properly complied with.
 
“We need the State Government to shine a light into this rotten industry, to stop the exploitation of small business owner drivers and to lift safety standards for these trucks on our roads.”
 
TWU Tip truck owner driver section president Phil Ramondino said that the under-regulated tip truck industry was the perfect breeding ground for shonky operators and unsafe practices.

“Subcontractors phoenixing their companies to avoid paying owner drivers is commonplace and it’s causing chaos in the industry,” Mr Ramondino said.
 
“When guys don’t get paid for the work they do, they are forced by intense economic pressure to take jobs at rock bottom rates. This is leading to unsafe practices like overloading, speeding and trucks not being properly maintained.
 
“We’ve met with the authorities and even given them specific State Government project examples to investigate, yet they still sit on their hands. I don’t understand why they’re not acting when there are lives and livelihoods at risk.”
 
Mr Aird said that these issues mattered to everyone in NSW because these trucks drove alongside our loved ones every day.
 
“Just last month, three people lost their lives in crashes involving tip trucks on NSW roads. Dangerous practices are common because prices are constantly being undercut by fleet owners and owner drivers are left high and dry by shonky sub-contractors.
 
“We need the State Government to shine a light into this industry by launching an urgent review of tip truck industry regulations and safety.”
 
A second case involving another tip truck owner driver against Brandon Connell Transport is outstanding.

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