NSW ARTIO seeks answers on 'safe rates'

NSW ARTIO uses inaugural conference to seek answers on 'safe rates'

October 29, 2010

The NSW Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) has used its inaugural conference to seek answers on a proposed ‘safe rates’ scheme for the trucking industry.

Held in Parramatta on October 26, the conference urged the Federal Government to consider a gamut of issues rather than simply focusing on remuneration reform.

NSW ARTIO Secretary Hugh McMaster says the "take home message" from the conference was for the whole supply chain to be considered in any policy.

This includes the role of vehicles and work environments, McMaster says.

The Federal Government is planning to reform pay methods following a 2008 academic study that found drivers lacked the ability to secure a sustainable rate.

According to the study, drivers are forced to commit unsafe practices because they cannot make ends meet. The Transport Workers Union has coined the term "safe rates" as part of its bid to reform pay methods.

The conference also highlighted concerns over the award modernisation process, which reduced about 120 transport awards into three.

The process has caused complexities in NSW because the state’s trucking operators need to factor in transitional rates to bring wages into line with other jurisdictions.

"Transport operators, especially those with business interests in NSW face a changing workplace relations environment as a result of changes in policy and case law," McMaster says.

He says an ARTIO committee will review the conference before deciding to hold it again.

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