Base rates for our Vic tip­pers

Govt an­nounces set hourly rates in name of safety

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Kirstin Payne kirstin.payne@bi­grigs.com.au

A MIN­I­MUM hourly rate has now been set for tip­per driv­ers work­ing on gov­ern­ment in­fra­struc­ture projects in Vic­to­ria.

The move is a new com­mit­ment from the State Gov­ern­ment, as part of its Code of Prac­tice for the tip­per in­dus­try.

The pledge, an­nounced at the Trans­port Work­ers Union Branch Del­e­gates Con­fer­ence, has gained the sup­port of both the union and the Vic­to­rian Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion.

Premier Daniel An­drews said it was time all work­ers on State Gov­ern­ment jobs “shared in the ben­e­fits of that in­vest­ment in a fair and eq­ui­table way”.

“You have made us un­der­stand how im­por­tant this is­sue is... with­out this union we just would not be mak­ing these im­por­tant re­forms,” Mr An­drews told the union del­e­gates.

Vic/Tas TWU sec­re­tary John Berger de­scribed the plan as a “de-facto” safety mea­sure, say­ing an over­haul of the wage struc­ture was a huge win for se­verely un­der­paid driv­ers.

“Tip­per driv­ers cur­rently work with­out cer­tainty re­gard­ing in­come, con­di­tions and hours and are vul­ner­a­ble to ex­ploita­tion,” Mr Berger said.

“They strug­gle to make truck re­pay­ments, main­tain the ve­hi­cle, feed the fam­ily and put the kids through school and, out of des­per­a­tion, make the heart-break­ing de­ci­sion to break road rules to get the next load.

“It is a bru­tal ex­is­tence for many and the sit­u­a­tion is at flash­point as more and more of these driv­ers are op­er­at­ing dan­ger­ously each day in densely pop­u­lated sub­ur­ban ar­eas, anec­do­tally, break­ing fa­tigue laws, speed­ing, run­ning red lights and, some­times, rolling when cor­ner­ing, while packed with over 20 tonnes of con­struc­tion site de­bris.

“A sys­tem of hourly rates will au­to­mat­i­cally cor­rect or counter most, if not all, of these is­sues.”

VTA chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Peter An­der­son said the plans were in time for the ex­pected rise in tip­pers work­ing on con­struc­tion projects such as, West­ern Dis­trib­u­tor, Metro Tun­nel and the North-East Link.

“There is no doubt there is go­ing to be a huge in­crease in ac­tiv­ity of earth­works and the move­ment of soil through the sub­urbs, that is only go­ing to grow,” he said.

“For the sake of the in­dus­try, this is a min­i­mum stan­dard and min­i­mum wage for driv­ers mov­ing soil around Mel­bourne to en­sure the in­dus­try isn’t com­pro­mised in any way.”

De­spite the term “safe rates” be­ing used in union me­dia on the mat­ter Mr An­der­son said this was not Road Safety Remuneration Tri­bunal by proxy.

“Ab­so­lutely not, we need to stop look­ing over our shoul­der in fear there is some­one stand­ing be­hind us,” he said.

“It isn’t the good op­er­a­tors we are wor­ried about, it is the un­scrupu­lous ones that may emerge based on the op­por­tu­nity to grab work as quickly as they can.

“The VTA has been pe­ti­tion­ing the gov­ern­ment to en­sure there is min­i­mum stan­dards not just in wages but con­di­tions.

“We all need to lead.”

❝A

sys­tem of hourly rates will au­to­mat­i­cally cor­rect or counter most, if not all, of these is­sues.

PHOTO: SEAN OWENS

WEL­COME CHANGE: Tip­per driv­ers work­ing on Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment Projects will have a set hourly rate.

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