ARTIO offered funds to educate operators

ARTIO has been offered a share of $2.5 million in grants to educate businesses about changes to employment awards

By Brad Gardner | October 4, 2010

The Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation has been offered a share of a $2.5 million in grants to educate trucking companies about changes to employment awards.

The ARTIO was one of a number of representative organisations that applied for the grants offered earlier this year by the Fair Work Ombudsman under its Shared Industry Assistance Program.

Following the selection process, 15 organisations have been offered a total of 25 grants.

If it accepts the grant, ARTIO will provide educative materials on the new awards in the trucking industry. The materials will also be made available for free on the Ombudsman’s website over the coming months.

"The industries being targeted are among those we think are most in need of targeted information," Nicholas Wilson from the Ombudsman says.

The modern awards were introduced as part of the Federal Government’s workplace reforms.

More than 120 existing transport awards were whittled down to three to cover general transport, long distance trucking and the cash in transit sector.

The three awards took effect on July 1 this year after the Government decided to delay their introduction by six months to give employers time to adjust.

Unless employees were currently working under an existing agreement, they were required to move to the new awards at the beginning of the new financial year.

NSW businesses are particularly affected by the modern awards because the state’s drivers have been paid higher wages than their interstate counterparts.

Those moving from the old system to one of the new awards are required to reduce driver rates by 20 percent each year for five years to bring wages into line with other jurisdictions.

"It presents extra challenges. I think it will certainly be administratively costly," Hugh McMaster from the NSW ARTIO has previously said.

Employees may apply to Fair Work Australia for take home pay orders to ensure their wages are maintained at the current level.

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