ARTIO seeks meeting on 'safe rates'


Industrial relations body wants a meeting with new federal government on 'safe rates', which has stalled since the election

By Brad Gardner | September 22, 2010

The Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) is pushing for a meeting with the new workplace relations minister on pay rates in the trucking industry.

Following the appointment of Senator Chris Evans to the workplace portfolio, ARTIO’s national industrial relations advisor Paul Ryan is anticipating a meeting to discuss the Safe Rates: Safe Roads report.

The report was due to be released in July for six weeks of public consultation and is in response to a 2008 study by the National Transport Commission calling for an overhaul to remuneration methods in trucking.

Developed by the Safe Rates Advisory Group, the report outlines proposals to implement ‘safe rates’—a scheme to ensure truck drivers are paid enough to make ends meet.

"There is a need to consider ‘where to from here’ for the report of the Safe Rates Advisory Group established by [Prime Minister] Julia Gillard when she was workplace relations minister," Ryan says.

The group was hand-picked by Gillard and included Linfox, Scott’s Transport, Bluescope Steel, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).

The TWU earlier this month called for the report to be released after Gillard formed a minority government. ATN has contacted Evans’ office to ask when the paper will be released for public consultation.

According to the NTC, there is a link between poor safety and low rates of pay. It found drivers lack the power to negotiate a sustainable rate. Incentive-based schemes such as the cents-per-kilometre rate have also been blamed for poor safety.

The TWU wants a tribunal established to rule on what constitutes a safe rate. Under this proposal, a company and a sub-contractor will go before the tribunal to argue their case.

ARTIO also wants to meet Evans to discuss recent industrial relations reforms such as the introduction of national employment standards, modern awards and the expansion of unfair dismissal.

Ryan says there is need to educate transport operators about the changes to ensure employers are aware of their obligations.


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