Triple the trouble
In an ideal world we’d be getting triple the pay for driving a B-triple. Unfortunately that’s not the case
“It must be said there are some companies paying the right money.”
THIS YEAR is as good as any to debate, debunk and demystify the facts about B-triples. We were all told about the advent of the new stain on the fabric of trucking. We were supposed to believe they would be the same as we were conned into believing B-doubles were to be used as in depot to depot only. Well, surely we have accepted that we were made fools of with that naivety.
We also believed all that other crap about “only the most highly trained and skilled would be driving them” and the old “only the most up to date, technologically advanced equipment would be used”.
What they should have said was, “we are going to make a pig’s picnic out of this open slather, ill conceived, lacking detail in respect to OH&S, and doomed to become the next flawed and negative situation that the drivers are left to deal with out on the highway”.
Let’s start with the rates of pay variances being dealt with first. Many have not seen an increase in their kilometre rate because of that old chestnut, “you’re already being paid over and above the Award”. Wrong!
Hopefully there isn’t anyone out there that still believes that that is even remotely the truth. So for those that are adding an extra cent per kilometre in the foolish belief that it is enough, think again; then do the math. It equates to a grand sum of $10 extra per 1,000km. So then it’s simply a matter of “why am I towing another ‘A-trailer’ with 12 pallets of profit increasing cartage, while not even being paid enough for my effort and skill to hook it up and unhook it properly, let alone towing it around”? Plus, there are the 12 more tyres that could blow, at least another 24 curtain straps to operate, six more gates to lift in and out, plus another six or more loadbinders to secure. Then there’s maybe even another fridge motor that needs fuelling or might even hold us up because it’s the one that shuts down out in the opposite direction of the nearest mechanic.
You might be saying to yourself about now, “Well, that’s the same as with any B-double”. But no, you can still do 100km/h in a B-double of course, but our new income-reducing B-triple actually means the same kilometre rate of a truck doing 100km maximum legal speed has now been cut by at least 10 per cent, or in the case of the 48 cents per km, cut by 4.8 cents every kilometre we drive due to only being able to drive at 90km/h maximum. Is it starting to make sense?
We are being ripped off! Put another way, we are victims of wage theft. But it doesn’t finish there, because not only are we not getting paid every cent that we earn, and are entitled to, and even harder than driving a shorter combination, along comes the added problems of trying to find a longer parking spot. Heaven forbid that we might need to park in one of the thousands of towns we normally drive through, and feel the need to spend our money in their businesses or seek a decent meal, or medical attention, a chemist or even a laundromat.
Yet, through no fault of our own, we have been thrust into a quagmire of so many more worse case scenarios beyond our pay grade, all because truck drivers, particularly interstate drivers, have been conned even further. It must be discussed out in the open, with the CEO, with the companies and the truck owners/employers.
Mind you, to be fair, it must be said there are some companies paying the right money, the Award, the decent ones, the ones worth driving for, the ones that have less trouble finding decent drivers – the ones paying hourly, or at least a fair rate that reflects the skills base that is expected to maintain a safer working environment. In other words, a “Safe Rate”.
The bottom line is, if you are not being paid at least 20 per cent more when driving a B-triple or a two-trailer roadtrain, then you are having your dollars stolen from you and your family.
All the best for 2019.