Subbie takes on Toll over penalty fee

Subbie accuses Toll of unsafe practices after he was charged more than $300 for a late delivery

Subbie takes on Toll over penalty fee
Subbie takes on Toll over penalty fee
By Brad Gardner | November 20, 2009

Toll has been forced to fend off allegations it is promoting unsafe practices after a sub-contractor was penalised more than $300 for a late delivery.

Tony O’Sullivan of NSW-based O’Sullivan’s Haulage had $328.02 deducted from his pay by Toll Express after he could not deliver goods from NSW to Brisbane in a specified period.

O’Sullivan was given 11 hours and 11 minutes plus one hour for a rest break to cart general freight on the Pacific Highway from Toll’s Eastern Creek depot to Richlands on September 7 this year.

The sub-contractor was less than two hours late and claims he was told by management he would suffer a financial penalty because it is Toll’s policy for dealing with late deliveries.

O’Sullivan, who is a certified driver trainer and accredited assessor, says drivers need at least 13 hours to complete the run comfortably to comply with road laws and that deducting pay will put drivers under pressure.

"They are asking people to break the law and what they [have] done to me is blatant," O’Sullivan says of Toll.

"You make someone work harder to earn their money."

However, a spokesman for Toll has rejected the assertions and says O’Sullivan was reimbursed as soon as the pay deduction was discovered.

"It is not Toll policy to withhold payment from drivers who arrive late – even if they haven’t contacted the receiving site," he says.

"In this particular case as soon as management found out about the withheld payment it was made in full."

The spokesman says Toll Express employees have also been reminded of the company’s policy.

According to the spokesman, drivers who feel tired should take a rest and contact the depot to give it an update on when they will be arriving.

He says the company has used "safe driving plans" for several years to ensure drivers complete their task safely.

"They are prepared in consultation with the driver and are designed to ensure safe and appropriate practices," the spokesman says.

He says drivers who do not think they can complete the task in the specified timeframe should raise their concerns at the depot before leaving.

Furthermore, he says drivers must sign the form to say they have enough hours to complete the job safely.

O’Sullivan provided ATN his driving plan which he states in the comments section for drivers: "This cannot be done in your timeframe (legally)."

Toll gave O’Sullivan the estimated driving time of 11 hours and 11 minutes after dividing the distance of the trip (951km) by the average speed of the vehicle (85km) which was a B-double.

But O’Sullivan says the company’s method of determining the timeframe does not take into account issues such as traffic levels or roadworks.

"In a B-double you wouldn’t be averaging 85km/h. It is up and down," he says.

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