Owner-driver shutdown for sustainable rates is great for industry: ALDODA

By: Jason Whittaker


A fringe trucking representative group is planning to wage an industry shutdown on May 25 to force customers to introduce

A fringe trucking representative group is planning to wage an industry shutdown on May 25 to force customers to introduce a new wage system for owner-drivers.

The date for the shutdown was agreed upon during a meeting last week at Rocklea in Queensland, in which 90 percent of attendees agreed to stop work, according to the organisers of the shutdown, the Australian Long Distance Owners & Drivers Association (ALDODA).

The planned strike, which ALDODA argues is "the best thing" for the industry, comes on the back of threats from an owner-driver to shutdown the trucking industry in about eight weeks time to force governments to scrap impending fatigue management regulations and to disband the National Transport Commission. However, ALDODA is choosing to focus on pay rates because it argues they are unsustainable in a climate of rising fuel prices.

ALDODA Queensland President Lyn Bennetts says customers must set a base owner-driver pay rate because small operators are struggling to pass costs on, forcing them to declare bankruptcy.

ALDODA is pushing for a single trailer rate of $3.75 per km each way as well a B-double of $4.15 per km each way.

The group is also demanding driver rates be set at 35 cents per km for single trailer drivers and 38 cents per km for B-double drivers, which ALDODA argues will increase a driver’s wage by $104.70 per trip.

The figures stem from the group’s own cost modelling based on a Brisbane to Melbourne trip. The cost sheet took into account insurance, fuel, maintenance and registration costs as well as meal allowances, road tolls, taxes and mobile phone use.

Bennetts says the figures were compiled by ALDODA with advice from a finance broker.

The group wants the changes to be complemented by overnight allowances and overtime pay. It is also calling for back loading to be abolished and moratorium on logbook fines until all parking bays have toilets, showers and cooking facilities, stands to take the weight of B-doubles and road trains and shaded areas for sleeping.

Bennetts says ALDODA is planning on running the shutdown for a week, at which time they will call a meeting if a longer shutdown is required.

But in a move that may cause a community backlash against the trucking industry, ALDODA is calling for trucks to park at public places such as fuel stations or "anywhere groups of truck drivers can be seen".

But Bennnetts says the shutdown has been a long time coming and will benefit the trucking industry.

"It is going to be the best thing this industry’s had for a while," she says.

According to Bennetts, support for the shutdown is "fantastic", with ALDODA recording 160 people at its Rocklea meeting.

However, it has failed to garner support from key trucking bodies such as the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU), with Bennetts saying ALDODA is operating the shutdown without input from either group.

Furthermore, governments are also distancing themselves from the shutdown, with Bennetts saying her calls to local, state and federal politicians have not been returned.

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