'Cherry-picking' TWU stopped in its tracks on wage claim

Commission throws out union bid for a significant pay increase for Toll’s long-distance truck drivers

'Cherry-picking' TWU stopped in its tracks on wage claim
'Cherry-picking' TWU stopped in its tracks on wage claim

By Brad Gardner | December 5, 2011

Toll has dodged a potentially costly wages bill after the Transport Workers Union’s bid for long distance drivers to be given a hefty pay increase failed.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission threw out the TWU’s call for linehaul drivers at Toll’s AutoLogistics division to be paid a 30 percent loading rate on top of their normal pay in line the Transport Industry (State) Award.

The drivers at Toll’s Wagga Wagga depot are covered under a separate site agreement that pays higher than the Award, but the union’s NSW branch argued the 30 percent loading provision should still apply.

"To incorporate the 30% long distance loading from the State Transport Award into the Site Agreement rates of pay to the Toll drivers would, to my mind, be a case of double counting," Commissioner Peter Connor says in his written judgement.

"The drivers would be cherry-picking the best arrangements from both industrial instruments. I do not believe that they are entitled to do so."

The TWU wanted Toll to pay the 30 percent allowance as well as the 25 percent leave loading figure when drivers took holidays.

Toll told the Commission the 30 percent figure was an allowance for long distance work and the company should not be required to pay it when employees are on leave.

Connor says the drivers are actually better off under the site agreement because pay rates are higher.

Furthermore, a heads of agreement between the TWU and Toll favoured the application of the site agreement over the Award. Toll negotiated base wages and kilometre rates with its drivers as part of the site agreement, which has a clause for annual rate increases.

"In my opinion, the Site Agreement and the wages and allowances set out in it must prevail over what is contained in the State Transport Award to that extent," Connor says.

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