Truck­ing’s free load­ing anom­aly

Two driv­ers work­ing for the one com­pany, yet only one is be­ing paid for all hours worked. It’s the long-stand­ing odd­ity that plagues the truck­ing in­dus­try. The In­ter­stater writes

Owner Driver - - OWNER // DRIVER -

IF EVER you’ve wanted to have an in­ter­est­ing de­bate on an is­sue that keeps both you and your com­bat­ant en­ter­tained for a num­ber of hours, make the sub­ject ‘be­ing paid’.

The vary­ing be­liefs be­tween what is be­ing paid and what should be paid is en­gross­ing, to say the least. Let’s start with ‘should you be paid by the hour or by the kilo­me­tre?’

The only way to be paid the penalty rates that al­most ev­ery other in­dus­try en­joys for work­ing long hours well out­side the nor­mal pa­ram­e­ters of the usual 40-hour work­ing week, and at­tain a time­and-a-half bonus af­ter the first eight hours and a dou­ble time bonus af­ter the first 10 hours, is to in­sist on be­ing ‘paid hourly’.

The sim­ple fact that all hours driven and worked must be writ­ten into the work di­ary would mean that by do­ing so we would fi­nally get paid what we are legally en­ti­tled to.

So, no more be­ing ripped off while load­ing and un­load­ing, not be­ing paid while fu­elling up the prime mover, fridge vans, gen­er­a­tors or any other part that likes to be topped up with flu­ids and our valu­able, book­able, time.

Why should we not get paid to wash the boss’s truck?

I’m sure he wouldn’t wash our cars for free each week.

We have to stand up and sup­port each other in the quest to start be­ing paid by the hour.


How of­ten do we find our­selves backed onto a dock, wait­ing to be loaded, wait­ing for one last pal­let, wait­ing for pa­per­work that seems to be com­ing via AusPost?

All the while we’re stand­ing along­side a lo­cal driver from the very same com­pany we work for who is be­ing paid for ev­ery minute he works up un­til knock-off time. Yet we are not?

Un­paid hours must be the num­ber-one is­sue fought for in the com­ing months. It is the big­gest sin­gu­lar rea­son we are find­ing our­selves so fa­tigued, so ex­hausted, and so dis­en­chanted with most ev­ery­thing in our lives.

We are usu­ally do­ing at least 30 per cent more work than we are be­ing paid to do, and the toll it’s tak­ing on our lives long-term must be ad­dressed now.

As an age­ing work­force, we will live to re­gret it sooner than we think be­cause an un­der­funded re­tire­ment is loom­ing. You would have no­ticed it lately. It not only seems to be dis­cussed more, but I bet you have found yourself more in­ter­ested in the sub­ject of re­tire­ment like never be­fore.

Not be­ing paid 9.5 per cent Su­per on your base rate, which is your cur­rent kilo­me­tre rate, is some­thing that you need to rally against, sooner rather than later.

Do you even know that the Aus­tralian Tax Of­fice (ATO) made a rul­ing that you are to be paid Su­per on ev­ery kilo­me­tre driven a few years ago? The em­ployer as­so­ci­a­tions had it quickly knocked on the head, the same as­so­ci­a­tions that your em­ployer is a paid-up mem­ber of, even us­ing your money to pay for it.

So the ATO changed its rul­ing to agree with the em­ployer as­so­ci­a­tions and made it only payable on what they con­sider to be your ‘nor­mal work­ing hours’ of less than a 38-hour week.

So how many in­ter­state driv­ers do you know that only work/drive 38 hours per week?


Most of you have heard that a po­ten­tial in­dus­try-chang­ing le­gal case has been dropped against a north Queens­land truck­ing com­pany. So the truth doesn’t stand a chance of be­ing ex­posed once again.

I re­cently spoke to a driver that was work­ing for a well-known banana carter from up that way and they are of the be­lief that be­cause they pay 44 cents per kilo­me­tre, it ex­cludes them from hav­ing to pay their driv­ers to load and un­load.

This is de­spite on a re­cent trip south it took the driver six hours to com­plete the five de­liv­er­ies un­paid.

That only left him with ex­actly six hours to eat, shower and have a seven-hour break so as to be seen as le­gal to drive as soon as the trail­ers were loaded for the re­turn leg, while be­ing com­pli­ant with the com­pany’s ‘smoke and mir­rors’ 3am off-theroad cur­few.

Not only does this ‘holier than thou’ com­pany think that they don’t have to pay their driv­ers to load and un­load, but they also be­lieve that once they have added up all the kilo­me­tres driven for the week, they then deduct the ‘liv­ing away from home al­lowance’ (LAHA), tax the bal­ance, then re-add the LAHA, and there you have your net weekly in­come.

As we surely must all by now know, that not only is this way of pay­ing wages il­le­gally, but it is morally bank­rupt be­cause it re­duces the kilo­me­tre rate that is ei­ther as per the award, or it is less than what is in the EBA. Ei­ther way, it is the driver who ends up pay­ing their own LAHA.

Don’t think that you have to be driv­ing for this mob to be in this ripoff sit­u­a­tion be­cause there is a bet­ter than even bet that you too are be­ing ripped off in ex­actly the same way – and have never been made aware of it be­fore. Re­mem­ber, the lie that it is done this way so as to re­duce your tax is as ab­surd as it is false.


I would ex­pect that I am not the only one sick and tired of hear­ing all the flot­sam and jet­sam about driver­less trucks.

Now I’m all for tech­nol­ogy, and I’m all for mak­ing the job safer and eas­ier, but it’s a waste of money that would ob­vi­ously be bet­ter spent else­where such as try­ing to re­duce the deaths of so many truck driv­ers each year.

Firstly, why delete the need for a driver to be sit­ting be­hind the steering wheel when there will al­ways be the need for a truck driver to do all of the as­so­ci­ated work around get­ting the freight de­liv­ered on time, and in good con­di­tion.

Se­condly, do any of th­ese time wasters un­der­stand that there will never be a fool­proof in­ter­net con­nec­tion, good enough Aus­trali­aw­ide to en­sure con­nec­tiv­ity un­der all-weather sit­u­a­tions.

Do any of th­ese peo­ple think Aus­tralia is small enough and rich enough to jus­tify the fit­ment of so many strate­gi­cally po­si­tioned sen­sors all over the place to make such an il­lu­sion a re­al­ity? To garner sup­port for such a doomed-to-fail­ure sys­tem that will never see the light of day on the grand scale that is Aus­tralia, all while bring­ing such un­nec­es­sary con­cern to long-term ca­reer truck driv­ers is just another sick­en­ing dis­trac­tion from the real con­cerns the in­dus­try should re­ally be fo­cused on right now.


I hope by now you have all been made aware that, as of July 1, you were all given a 3.3 per cent pay rise. What? You didn’t know? Well if you didn’t, go and speak to your em­ployer and /or the pay­mas­ter and make sure you are get­ting it.

That means re­gard­less of what you were on pre­vi­ously, it must be a 3.3 per cent rise, re­gard­less of what your EBA says, or whether you are on an above award agree­ment. If by be­ing paid an ex­tra 3.3 per cent doesn’t raise your rate above the award amount by 3.3 per cent, then it must. If in doubt, and this isn’t as clear to you as you would like it to read, e-mail me and I can ex­plain it more to your per­sonal sit­u­a­tion.

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