Linfox takes on employee driver for rubbishing contractors


Linfox rejects employee claims that contractors working for the company break fatigue laws, take drugs and tamper with speed limiters

Linfox takes on employee driver for rubbishing contractors
Linfox takes on employee driver for rubbishing contractors
By Brad Gardner | August 12, 2013

Linfox has been hit with accusations from one of its own employees of flagrant law-breaking among its fleet of contractors, prompting the company to dismiss the claims and defend its approach to safety and compliance.

In a written statement to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) that paints companies supplying their services to the transport and logistics titan as crooks, Linfox linehaul driver Eric Pickering claims contractors falsify their work diaries, take illicit drugs and tamper with speed limiters on their rigs.

Pickering, who is based at Linfox’s Chullora depot in New South Wales, told the RSRT the standard of work drops dramatically once Linfox brings in the likes of owner-drivers.

"The contractor drivers are, from my observations, constantly breaking the safe driving rules in all sorts of ways," he says.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) delegate told the tribunal of one case involving a small contractor on Linfox’s books that was suspected of flouting workplace laws.

"We pressured Linfox into auditing them. It turned out the employer had no insurances, was paying cash and wasn’t paying his drivers properly, wasn’t paying super, and didn’t even know his workers surnames," he says.

Linfox labelled Pickering’s claims "inaccurate", while Workplace Relations Manager Nicholas Leon says Linfox has "a robust compliance and safety regime".

"Any assertion that Linfox allows or condones unsafe or illegal work practices is incorrect and without foundation," he says.

Leon, who issued his response in a statement to the RSRT, says contractors working for Linfox are required to meet the same fatigue management standards of employee drivers.

"If Mr Pickering had brought evidence of an alleged breach to Linfox’s attention that breach would have been investigated and, if proven, appropriate disciplinary action would have been taken," Leon says.

His response also rejects Pickering’s accusation Linfox had to be pressured into taking action against a shonky contractor.

"Linfox was made aware of issues relating to the contractor in question. Linfox investigated the allegations made against that contractor and the engagement was immediately terminated as a result of the contractor’s non-compliance with Linfox’s policies and procedures," he says.

Leon says Linfox has a compliance team in place to make sure company policies, relevant laws and regulations are being followed, while employees can also raise allegations of contractors failing to meet their compliance obligations.

"It employs compliance managers that have dedicated expertise in several fields including: dangerous goods, accreditations and systems management," he says.

Pickering’s statement, which was tacked on to the end of the TWU’s response to the RSRT’s draft remuneration order, says contractor drivers take speed and amphetamines and that he has brought drug-use to Linfox’s attention.

"I have done that on three occasions, and on each occasion the person was drug tested and returned a positive reading for amphetamines," he says.


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