Thorman's Transport agreement 'not worthy of approval': FWA

Thorman's joins other trucking operators struggling to get their enterprise agreements through Fair Work Australia

By Brad Gardner | May 25, 2010

Bulk cartage and heavy haulage provider Thorman’s Transport has become the latest operator to have its enterprise agreement rejected by Fair Work Australia.

Fair Work Commissioner Ian Cambridge highlighted a litany of errors in Thorman’s agreement and ruled it was not made in accordance with the Fair Work Act.

The agreement did not stipulate wage rates and allowances and copied obsolete and irrelevant terms from previous industrial agreements, such as referring to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission which was superseded by Fair Work Australia.

It also incorrectly cited the Fair Work Act as the Federal Industrial Relations Act and the Road Transport and Distribution Award as the Road Transport Award.

"Unfortunately therefore the agreement gave the appearance of a document that had not been created with sufficient care and attention so as to represent an industrial instrument worthy of approval," Cambridge says.

Thorman’s also used its office manager, Jemima Wills, as a witness to its statutory declaration form for the agreement.

"An office manager is not specified as an occupation or a person before whom a statutory declaration may be made...," Cambridge says.

The agreement cited compliance with occupational health and safety regulations and codes of practices but did not specify relevant laws.

"Consequently, for the reasons as stated above, the application has not been made in accordance with the Act," Cambridge says.

He says the agreement needs "to be substantially altered" before Fair Work Australia will accept it.

Cambridge’s ruling follows cases involving Rhino Transport and Kerry Logistics.

Both companies had their agreements rejected because they failed to meet conditions under the Fair Work Act.

Kerry Logistics’ agreement failed to meet national employment standards and falsely claimed the support of the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

Despite Rhino employees approving the agreement, Fair Work Australia ruled that the "confusing" and "uncertain" terms meant they could not have understood the conditions.

Commissioner Barbara Deegan says the agreement stipulated personal leave as accruing every four weeks when national employment standards require leave to accrue progressively during the year.

Furthermore, the agreement stipulated compliance with the NSW Long Service Leave Act despite Rhino employing in Queensland.

The agreement failed to specify maximum hours of work for part-time employees.

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