NatRoad says the TWU’s proposals regarding modern awards will increase red tape in the industry, while the union has accused the industry body of a “disgraceful robbing of drivers’ incomes”.
THE NATIONAL Road Transport Association (NatRoad) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) remain at loggerheads over the TWU’s proposal for changes to the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010 and the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010.
NatRoad made its final submission to the Fair Work Commission in March in response to the TWU’s application to alter the two awards.
NatRoad opposed all five claims made by the union on the grounds that they are “unnecessary” and will only add regulatory burden on an “already highly regulated” road freight industry.
These include the TWU’s definition of the word ‘driver’, which NatRoad says “would drag personnel covered by other awards into the Distribution Award because of the large number of non-driver tasks that are used to define what a driver is”.
In addition, NatRoad says a change in the definition contained in the Distribution Award of what the road transport and distribution industry actually is would mean companies which move trucks and other vehicles rather than carry freight would be covered by the award.
NatRoad believes an overtime clause in the Distribution Award to apply in circumstances where an employee who ‘ordinarily performs’ work under another award is temporarily required to perform work under the Distribution
Award would be an “administrative nightmare to apply”.
The TWU is also seeking an amendment to the clause in the Road Transport ( Long Distance Operations)
Award 2010 where a driver’s working hours set under a fatigue management plan must be provided with a safe driving plan for each journey.
However, NatRoad says this requirement “could bring back one of the requirements that was unnecessarily imposed by the now abolished Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal”.
NatRoad is also disputing two new TWU-proposed subclauses relating to the payment of a new “pickup and drop- off allowance” in the Long Distance Award. The association says it is “expressed ambiguously”.
“Where the current loading and unloading allowance fits with this proposal is unclear,” NatRoad says.
“The TWU has not, in addition, isolated the problem that this allowance is said to solve.
“It would add costs to industry at a level that has not even been estimated by the TWU.”
However, NatRoad has supported two changes sought to the Distribution Award, namely that an employee must work for two hours in a higher grade before an entitlement arises to be paid at the higher rate.
It also supports the ruling that an employee, if notified the day before of a requirement to work overtime, is not entitled to be paid a meal allowance.
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says the trucking industry does not want to be “held back by red tape and additional regulatory burdens: and that’s what we stood up for in the Fair Work Commission”.
“We remain critical of regulatory changes that impose additional costs on our members yet fail to bring about any productivity gains.”
However, TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says NatRoad and other employer groups must be held accountable for their “disgraceful robbing of drivers’ incomes”.
“These drivers work hard and they must be paid fairly for all their work,” Sheldon says.
“Not paying employee drivers undercuts other parts of our industry, including owner drivers.
“This pushing down of pay and rates must stop.”
The Fair Work Commission is set to hand down a determination around June to July of this year.