In the decision by the full bench of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal refers to the National Road Transport Association creating “uncertainty and confusion” about the Order. The decision takes NatRoad to task for promoting an online petition opposing the Order incorrectly stating that it would increase by over 30%. NatRoad “had written a press release on 11 February 2016 which indicated the increases in the 2016 RSRO were lower than that, he promoted the petition to NatRoad’s members”, the decision said.
From next Monday major retailers and manufacturers will have to begin adjusting their contracts with transport operators and ensure safe minimum rates are paid to owner drivers.
“The aim of this is simple: to make our roads safer and our industry more sustainable. The pressure on drivers to speed, drive long hours and skip mandatory rest breaks is real and its consequences are devastating. In March alone 25 people were killed in truck crashes. Drivers should be able to support their business and family without risking their own lives and those of other road users,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
“Transport drivers are now seeking full transparency of client contracts to ensure contracts allow for safe minimum rates. It is also vital that the Tribunal acts on the application for payment by clients to transport operators within 30 days of work completed. The Tribunal must also extend safe minimum rates to drivers in all sectors, as per the applications in oil, fuel and gas; waste; ports and wharves; and cash delivery,” he said.
Key transport industry associations supported important aspects of the decision. Owner drivers who have worked successfully on similar arrangements in NSW and other states where higher rates than the Order apply welcome the accountability now also applying to clients.
“This Order which will hold those at the top of the supply chain to account for the crisis in transport. Bankruptcies among transport operators are among the highest in the country. Suicide among truck drivers is also rampant. It is time to fix the problems in our industry. This Order will begin that process,” Sheldon added.
Owner driver Frank Black said he was looking forward to the Order coming in and more certainty coming to his business. “These safe rates aren’t unreasonable and they are necessary. Drivers are expected to subsist on meager wages, forgoing vital maintenance to their trucks while the companies whose goods they carry for earn billions in profit. This is about finally making things fair for owner drivers,” he said.