TWU To Argue For Safe Rates Order To Begin In Federal Court Hearings

Release date: 5/04/2016

The Transport Workers’ Union will argue during federal court hearings tomorrow that a stay should be lifted on an Order from the road safety watchdog setting safe minimum rates of pay for truck drivers.

The delay to the Order, brought about late on Friday by court injunction applications from employers’ groups and the federal government, is creating uncertainty for drivers and is holding up a solution to the high death toll in truck crashes.
“Every year hundreds of owner drivers go bankrupt because they are not able to cover their costs with the tiny margins they are forced onto. Every year hundreds of people lose their lives in truck crashes because of pressure on drivers. The government, transport employers and clients need to address the crisis in trucking and not stand in the way of a solution,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
A decision on Friday by the independent Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal rejected arguments put forward to delay the Order. It criticised industry groups saying they had “created and perpetuated myths about the application and operation of the RSRO” and failed to inform their members about it.
The Tribunal added that it was “scandalous that some bodies and persons have sought to create uncertainty and confusion by actions or omissions”.
“Employer groups have been exposed on this. They put around myths about owner drivers going out of business because of the Order yet they represent the companies which will supposedly be sacking them. The federal government is well known for backing up its mates in big business whether it is failing to hold banks to account for scandals or major firms on tax avoidance. We will be appealing to the court to set aside these vested interests and to allow the Order to proceed,” Sheldon added.
Owner driver Frank Black said he was hopeful the court would allow the Order to begin. “We’ve waited a long time for a solution to the problems in trucking. We need this Order now to help drivers keep their businesses going and to stop them risking their lives and the lives of others,” he said.

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