RSRT limits focus on pay rates for owner-drivers

By: Brad Gardner

Tribunal wants to limit remuneration reform to owner-drivers hauling general freight.

RSRT limits focus on pay rates for owner-drivers
The RSRT held a number of consultations with industry representatives in developing the draft remuneration order for owner-drivers.


A significant chunk of the trucking industry may be excluded from the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) planned changes to owner-driver remuneration.

The RSRT late last year developed a draft proposal in consultation with a select group of industry representatives outlining the possible structure of an order to set remuneration rates and payment methods for owner-drivers.

The document proposes to set rates and cost inputs for those carrying general freight, but wants to exclude vehicles with tippers, tankers, agitators, and crane or car carrying ability.

ATN has sought comment from the RSRT on its reasoning behind the exclusions.

The proposal stems from a number of meetings the RSRT held in 2014 with Linfox, Toll, the Transport Workers Union (TWU), individual drivers, employer representative bodies and industry associations.

While most parties involved in talks agree to limiting coverage to general freight – essentially trucks delivering goods to distribution centres and supermarkets – there is disagreement over whether owner-drivers should be paid for taking mandatory fatigue management breaks.

The RSRT wants fatigue breaks included, but the likes of the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) and Linfox believe owner-drivers should not be paid for them.

"It [Linfox] believes that rest and/or fatigue breaks should not be counted as work time," the lawyer acting for Linfox, Maurice Baroni, wrote to the RSRT.

Linfox recently had a run-in with the TWU over payment for fatigue management breaks for owner-drivers in New South Wales. The Industrial Relations Commission ruled that the owner-drivers should not be paid when taking the breaks. 

If introduced, the RSRT’s remuneration order will include a payment schedule establishing fixed rates and a cost input model, and another schedule for variable cost components.

ARTIO wants the tribunal to ensure trucking operators have freedom in how they pay owner-drivers.

"ARTIO supports a minimal and truly flexible approach that allows well established and traditional payment methods to be utilised so long as the rate reflects, and is based upon, the minimum rates otherwise received in accordance with the rates in any Road Safety Remuneration Order," ARTIO representative Travis Degen says in a submission to the RSRT.

The proposed order also includes provisions applying to consignors, namely requiring them to take steps to ensure owner-drivers are sufficiently remunerated.

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