Today, May 26th 2019

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National Safe Rates - A Huge Breakthrough

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The new federal laws will be binding on prime-contractors and firms who hire owner drivers

written by former TWU State Secretary
JIM McGIVERON

A federal government decison to establish a national Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal is a huge win for Australia’s owner-drivers and the TWU.

The Tribunal will target companies who underpay owner-drivers to the extent that they cannot operate safely.

Truck drivers should not have to speed, overload their trucks, drive excessive hours or cut back on vehicle maintenance just to make a decent living.

The legislation was introduced into federal parliament last month and will come into operation on 1 July 2012.

The new laws will enable us to take ‘rate-cutters’ who make our roads unsafe to the national Tribunal.

The Tribunal will include three Fair Work Australia members who will have the backing of a number of health and safety experts.

It will have the power to set pay rates and pay-related conditions for the trucking sector, including mandating paid waiting times, outlawing incentive-based remuneration and dictating payment periods.

It will improve safety by ensuring drivers are paid enough.

Its decisions will be binding on prime contractors and companies who hire owner drivers.

For too long owner-drivers have been squeezed by clients to meet unrealistic delivery schedules!

'The truck driving sector has the highest incidence of fatalities'

The reforms recognise that the concentrated power of the major retailers forces transport firms and owner drivers to accept unsafe rates.

Risky practices

Recent research by the National Transport Commission shows low rates of pay can lead to risky work practices by drivers to make ends meet.

These risky practices include speeding, long hours and using illicit substances.

The truck driving sector has the highest incidence of fatal injuries compared to all other industries.

In 2010 cost of heavy vehicle related accidents involving fatalities and serious injuries topped $2.7 billion.

The national Tribunal will operate separately to the state Tribunal and we will use both jurisdictions to the benefit of our members.