Sacked Linfox truckie vows to fight on

Linfox driver sacked for falsifying his fatigue management timesheet will appeal his unfair dismissal case after it was thrown out

Sacked Linfox truckie vows to fight on
Sacked Linfox truckie vows to fight on
By Brad Gardner | January 20, 2011

A truck driver sacked by Linfox for deliberately falsifying his fatigue management timesheet will appeal an unfair dismissal ruling in a bid to get his job back.

Tu Noanoa says he should not have been fired in July last year because the incident was the first in his 10 years with the company.

Fair Work Australia Commissioner Ian Cambridge this week threw out Noanoa’s unfair dismissal claim by ruling that deliberate falsification justified Linfox’s actions.

Noanoa confessed to making false entries when Linfox noticed his timesheet showed he was unloading his truck at the same time as having a rest. He breached his allotted driving time by five minutes.

"As far as I was concerned it was a nothing issue really. I want my job back," Noanoa says.

The driver was represented by the Transport Workers Union in the original matter and says he will approach it again to help him in his appeal.

"I want to go and speak to the union and arrange a meeting in the next few days," he says.

TWU claimed Noanoa’s actions represented "a momentary lapse of judgement" rather than a sackable offence.

According to the union, Linfox should have warned Noanoa considering his length of service with the company. It wanted the driver reinstated or compensated.

The TWU today responded to criticism from Cambridge, who questioned the union’s support for Noanoa considering it had for years advocated for tough fatigue management laws.

"This union is the strongest supporter of and in fact a major driving force behind legislation designed to stamp out fatigue and promote safety. That is what we have always been about and we are about," TWU NSW Secretary Wayne Forno says.

Forno says the TWU will never condone breaching fatigue laws but represented Noanoa because it always look after its members.

"In defence of our member, Tu Noanoa, he had worked for Linfox for 10 years and for that entire 10 years had never committed such an offence," Forno says.

"This was a one off incident which occurred because he was pressured. When he arrived to unload his truck at the dock he knew he had to take a break. Instead the client pressured him to unload immediately for their own convenience because the dock was free at the time."

Cambridge did criticise Linfox for preparing a termination letter before giving Noanoa the opportunity to defend himself at a disciplinary meeting.

"This particular aspect of the employer’s procedure must attract strong criticism," he says, before adding that it did not undermine the reason for the driver’s dismissal.

Fatigue management restrict the number of hours drivers can work each day and mandates rest breaks at regular intervals. All parties in the supply chain can be fined and convicted for breaking the laws.

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