Proposal to cut rates for truckies declined

Fair Work Australia throws out application that would cut rates for truck drivers in the dairy industry

By Brad Gardner | February 8, 2012

Fair Work Australia has rejected an application that would have cut pay rates for some truck drivers employed under the Road Transport and Distribution Award.

The Australian Federation of Employers and Industries (AFEI) wanted a new clause slotted into the Award to vary times and allowances for shiftwork.

It would affect those storing, packing and distributing dairy products for resale by retail outlets, schools, households, hospitals, office blocks and factories.

The changes would not cover drivers transporting milk in bulk to large retailers, from farms to processing facilities or from processing facilities to warehouses and distribution centres.

"The most significant effect of the variation sought is the introduction of an early morning shift with an allowance at a lesser rate to what would be payable under the current award for hours worked during the corresponding span," Fair Work Senior Deputy President Anne Harrison says.

"I decline to make the variation sought by the AFEI."

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) opposed the AFEI’s application, which cited flexibility and labour costs as reasons for proposing a variation.

"I note that this reference to flexibility in fact means to work at these times for a lesser amount than that currently in the RT&D Award," Harrison says.

The Award was introduced in 2010 and replaced 54 separate transport awards as part of a modernisation process to simplify the industrial relations system.

The Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award was also introduced to cover truck drivers travelling more than 500 kilometres.
Each award stipulates the minimum wages, allowances, penalty rates and leave employers must provide their drivers.

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