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”.

Owner Driver - - Front Page - Greg Bush re­ports

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.

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