Standing up for our drivers’ pay, rights
IT’S an ongoing issue for the members of the Transport Workers’ Union: someone, somewhere is always trying to chip away at the income a driver takes home.
We have already fought off the NatRoad attack on the General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD), an agreement that has provided minimum rates, conditions and security of income to owner-drivers for over 30 years. We have also been at loggerheads with them over allowances for drivers and won. These are issues that are relevant to the owner driver, mum-and-dad-style businesses, and the employee-driver.
Now we’re taking on the Federal Government over driver incomes. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) appears to have totally forgotten to consult with our industry before arbitrarily tossing aside the amount of expenses a driver can claim at tax time. The amount drivers can claim in meal allowances without showing receipts has been cut to $55.30 per day, down from $97.40.
Drivers are rightly upset. The long hours, many consecutive nights away from home and high cost of food and facilities at truck stops appear to be an absolute revelation when explained to bureaucrats at the ATO. The TWU met them in August to oppose the changes and demand a reversal of the decision.
Many drivers have told me that they are dependent on their allowance. After all, the cut amounts to upwards of $200-a-week out of their pockets.
On behalf of truck drivers, we asked why those who are on the road for a living were not consulted. It was clear to us that the ATO has little or no understanding of what life is like on the road. We know that for some drivers work means up to 80 hours a week in their truck.
The TWU has set out demands to the ATO, we want them to communicate with us a time frame which will see this mess cleaned up.
While we await an outcome, we would invite you to help us keep up the pressure on the Federal Government.
If you are a truck driver, a family member or a supporter of our industry, please sign our online petition. Through that we will also be able to contact your local member to pass on the message.
TOUGH LIFE: Long hours, many consecutive nights away from home and high cost of food and facilities at truck stops are concerns that came as a surprise to the ATO.