Sunset ordered to play ball amid claims of Ruttley link

Release date: 1/04/2012

The trucking company run by a former Ruttley Freightlines manager will be forced to defend an unfair dismissal claim amid suggestions it has a business deal with Bob Ruttley.

Australasian Transport News, Subscribers

Fair Work Australia (FWA) has given the green light for David Pedersen to pursue his claim against Sunset Logistics, which is accused offiring him after he damaged a truck in a minor traffic accident in September last year.

Sunset is run by Adam Glanville, who purchased assets from his former employer before it went into administration in October 2011. Pedersen says he drove for Ruttley Freightlines before switching over to Sunset in August last year.

FWA Deputy President Peter Sams organised a hearing to decide if Sunset should respond to the unfair dismissal claim after the company denied ever hiring Pedersen directly.

Sunset’s accountant, Perry Giannopoulos, wrote to FWA prior to proceedings claiming Pedersen was an employee of the Ruttleyowned Bolivia Employment Services, which went into administration in October.

Giannopoulos claims Sunset contracted to Bolivia for work.

A Transport Workers Union (TWU) official, Adam Guy, told Sams that Pedersen received payslips from Bolivia Employment Services while working for Glanville.

"In oral submissions, Mr Guy put that it appeared that Mr Glanville may be in some form of business partnership with Mr Robert Ruttley, who was the owner and director of Bolivia Employment Services, and that, at one stage, the applicant may have been employed by Bolivia. However, he was not employed by Bolivia at the time of termination," Sams says.

He ruled that Sunset should bear responsibility for responding to Pedersen’s unfair dismissal claim because it "exercised almost exclusive control over all of his work related duties".

The TWU argued that Glanville solely managed Pedersen’s work and verbally confirmed to the driver he worked for Sunset Logistics. Furthermore, the union told Sams that Glanville was responsible for Pedersen being paid despite his payslips listing Bolivia as his employer.

A representative for Sunset did not appear at the hearing and the company did not respond to attempts by FWA to contact it.

"As I propose to issue an order naming Sunset Logistics Pty Ltd as the respondent to this application, I trust someone with the appropriate authority within Sunset Logistics Pty Ltd will ultimately address the substantive claim of the applicant in respect to his alleged unfair dismissal," Sams says.

Sunset is listed as a separate entity to Ruttley Freightlines, but when Pedersen contacted Glanville about the accident in September the driver says he was told to call Bob Ruttley.

FWA heard Pedersen was instantly dismissed and that, when he phoned Glanville about his severance payments, he was once again told to speak to Ruttley.

When Pedersen asked about Sunset Logistics, Glanville is alleged to have replied: "That was all bulls**t. I didn’t buy any trucks. I’m just driving for Bob." Pedersen eventually got hold of Ruttley but was directed to Giannopoulos when he enquired about his holiday pay and notice payments.

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