The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) capped off its first round of industry visits last week, stopping at the Tarcutta truck changeover, the Port Botany truck marshalling area and Uncle Leo’s Roadhouse in New South Wales.
RSRT President Jennifer Acton (pictured with RSRT member Paul Ryan) led a contingent of tribunal representatives to listen to the concerns of drivers, and many approached her to tell tales of life on the road.
“The drivers I met at Tarcutta, Port Botany and Uncle Leo’s Roadhouse were a mixture of employee drivers and owner or contractor drivers engaged by a wide variety of road transport employers and hirers, and carrying everything from construction equipment to toilet rolls,” Acton says.
“They were keen to tell me about their experiences in the industry and their concerns for it. Many of the drivers, the public face of the road transport industry, had colourful nicknames. Most were my age and older. Few said they would encourage their children to go into the industry.”
Acton made the comments during her speech at a Victorian Transport Association (VTA) industry luncheon, where she highlighted individual stories of the drivers she met.
“One driver told me he drove all over Australia chasing loads from the more profitable sectors of the economy and earned just enough to cover the payments on his truck, his operating costs and something to live on. Although, he said, backloading was often hard for him to obtain and he would like to spend more time with his young family,” Acton says.
“Another driver repeated a common complaint - not getting paid for waiting time. Arriving at the loading or unloading point and then having to wait many hours, unpaid, before his truck was loaded or unloaded. Yet another complained about long delays in the payment of his invoices. And many raised the level of remuneration they received.”
However, Acton says drivers working for large transport operators and covered by an enterprise bargaining agreement reported receiving good terms and conditions.
But she also noted a lack of awareness among some drivers of the tribunal’s existence, despite the Federal Government heavily publicising the establishment and responsibilities of the RSRT in the past year.
“However, they were pleased to hear about the independent national tribunal which is dedicated to promoting safety and fairness in the road transport industry,” Acton says.
The RSRT is currently travelling across the country to consult the transport industry on remuneration, conditions and related matters affecting all parties in the supply chain.
The consultations are designed to inform the RSRT’s work on crafting road safety remuneration orders, which can mandate rates and conditions.
“Road safety remuneration orders can impose requirements on employers or hirers of road transport drivers, and participants in the supply chain relating to road transport drivers,” Acton says.
“Over coming weeks and months the tribunal will engage across Australia in further consultations with those in the road transport industry.”
Acton and tribunal members Paul Ryan and Steve Hutchins visited the Patrick container terminal at the Port of Melbourne on April 19 and will hold another consultation on Coode Road at the port on April 24.
In its annual work program released last year, the RSRT announced it would focus its 2013 efforts on the retail, livestock, bulk grain, interstate long distance and the intrastate long distance sectors.
Click this link to read the orginal article on Australasian Transport News.