Today, Oct 17th 2021

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News headings from LabourStart

TWU Demands Increases in Owner Driver Rates

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The (TWU) is planning protests and legal action in support of minimum rates for owner-drivers and has given notice to the trucking industry: "We'll be pushing for rates to increase."

We are hearing a lot of hard luck stories from firms who are peddling the line that the new safe rates laws will cost owner drivers their work.

This and other misleading information is being dribbled out about the impact of minimum rates.

Our position has always been clear. We say, "safe rates should apply to all truck operators including owner drivers and fleet owners."

This has always been the TWU position.

Late last year the road safety remuneration tribunal (RSRT) handed down the contractor Driver Minimum payments road safety remuneration Order.

The order will guarantee minimum hourly and kilometre rates for truck operators working in the supermarket distribution and linehaul sectors.

Drivers must also be paid for taking rest breaks, loading and unloading time, refuelling and filling out paperwork — all within 30 days of completing the work.

However, a lack of information about the scheme from the RSRT has caused anxiety among those likely to be affected.

Some hirers and organisations with vested interests are claiming the rates will be so high that owner-drivers will lose some work or be completely priced out of the market, causing many to go bust.

Our national secretary tony sheldon has dismissed the talk as baseless and says critics of minimum rates are circulating the claims to stoke fear among owner drivers.

"The threats being spread about the [minimum rates] order are an attempt by wealthy clients at the top to bully weak-kneed transport companies to bow down,” he says.

“I urge all drivers to stand up and fight for your rights. You won them, you deserve them and you have a right to be paid for all your work.”

Tony has outlined our union’s plans to bolster support for the impending minimum rates system and to pressure parties in the transport supply chain to meet their obligations.

He says the TWU will be taking “direct action” by staging rallies, and that owner-drivers should join with the union and support protests against businesses opposing minimum rates.

“The first thing I would say to people is, stand up and fight with your mates. Take on any transport company or client that causes truckies to go on the road unsafe.

“We must hold these people to account.

"Transport operators have shown themselves to be too weak to stand up to big retailers so we’re doing it for them by demanding they be paid for their work within 30 days and that transport contracts allow them to recover costs.

Now we are asking them to join us in holding these big retailers accountable,” he added.

The TWU has fiercely opposed applications before the road safety remuneration tribunal to abolish the new rates system by groups including Ai Group, natroad and the australian livestock and rural transporters association.

In over two years of negotiations and consultation on the new rates none of these groups put forward any constructive ideas on how to make the transport industry safe or sustainable.

Owner-drivers must stand together and hold any company responsible for putting them off because they are getting paid safe rates.

The TWU’s legal team is also preparing to take on those who try and deny owner-drivers.