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ALC and TWU duke it out on remuneration tribunal

Australian Logistics Council sees operator licensing, COR and telematics as more important


The Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC) championing of measures including operator licensing and snub of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) has gained a willing rejoinder from the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

In what has become a regular stoush, the ALC holds up Britain’s operator licensing scheme, telematics and Chain Of Responsibility as measures that would be of more value to the industry.

“Claims that the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal is the only solution to improving heavy vehicle safety detract much-needed focus from a range of measures that, in industry’s view, would have equal or superior safety and compliance benefits,” ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff says.

“To improve safety, there needs to be a greater effort to ensure all supply chain participants meet their Chain of Responsibility obligations, coupled with the implementation of a number of targeted and practical measures.

“For example, ALC would welcome greater investigation into the safety benefits of introducing an operator licensing scheme in Australia.

“In a number of other countries, licensees have to demonstrate compliance with technical, safety or financial fitness requirements specified by the regulator.

“These requirements could be considered as a means of regulating the ‘quality’ of operators.

“For example, the United Kingdom’s operator Licensing system maintains high standards of safety by ensuring licence holders are professionally competent, or that they employ someone who is professionally competent.

“ALC has also long encouraged the NTC to investigate the potential benefits of using in-vehicle telematics as a way to monitor driver fatigue and speed of heavy vehicles.

“The use of monitoring systems embracing telematics for compliance purposes should be mandated for heavy line-haul vehicles as part of a company’s compliance with their Chain of Responsibility obligations.

The TWU was unmoved, pointing out that none of this would tackle the industry bane of late payments and calling for the RSRT to investigate the practice.

It reiterates its latest RSRT submission which notes “four-month payment terms equate to a significant percentage off already wafer thin margins”.

“This is another example of those entities at the apex of transport supply chains placing pressure on the industry, in this case by squeezing interest-free elongated payment terms that some operators are saying is putting them out of business,” the submission adds.

The TWU has criticised the comments which suggest voluntary codes should take the place of binding legislation and enforceable orders in ensuring safety in trucking.

“The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has proved is the only body which can investigate all issues which impact on safety in transport. It is the body which can hold all of the major companies using transport operators to account over low cost contracts,” TWU assistant national secretary Michael Kaine says.

“It is in the interests of transport operators to support the Tribunal so the squeeze on them is exposed.

“The Australian Logistics Council is doing its members a disservice is opposing the Tribunal.

“Is the Australian Logistics Council now acting as the mouthpiece of the likes of Coles in allowing them off the hook from real scrutiny of their supply chains?”

The TWU argues other countries are seeking to emulate Australia’s systems on road safety.

It says employers, governments and trade unions at the United Nations body, the International Labor Organisation, had recently backed safe remuneration and supply chain accountability based on the Australian Safe Rates model, to tackle the root causes of trucking deaths.

“We have achieved a unique system here that has the potential to make our roads safer,” Kaine says.

“The Australian Logistics Council must be part of this momentum instead of opposing it.”

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