Black prepares for big RSRT hearing on driver rates


Owner-driver representative urges tribunal to press ahead with plan to mandate minimum pay rates.

Black prepares for big RSRT hearing on driver rates
Fair go: Frank Black says owner-drivers should be paid for all the work they do.

 

The man representing Australia’s owner-drivers will appear before a tribunal today to encourage it to press ahead with its plan to mandate minimum rates for contractors.

Frank Black, who is the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) representative, is in Melbourne for the start of four days of hearings on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) proposal to reform remuneration for owner-drivers.

The RSRT in August proposed minimum hourly and kilometre rates for owner-drivers engaged in supermarket distribution and linehaul work.

The plan includes payments to cover waiting time, loading and unloading, and maintenance costs.

"Owner drivers are small businesses but with an average income of $29,000 many of us are living hand to mouth while struggling to juggle loan repayments on the truck, pay fuel, insurances and keep on top of maintenance," Black says.

"This leads to pressure which puts us and other road users at risk.

"We’re not asking for huge payments but we need to be paid for the all the work we do."

The RSRT has scheduled four days of hearings on its proposal, which is scheduled to begin on January 1 next year and has attracted support and opposition within the trucking industry.

Critics claim the plan will be costly to implement and lead to owner-drivers losing work.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says the plan to regulate owner-driver contracts with parties will improve the viability of owner-drivers, improve safety and make the trucking industry an attractive career choice for young people.

If introduced, the RSRT’s plan will apply throughout the transport supply chain.

It specifically imposes obligations on the likes of consignors and consignees to ensure they are paying transport companies a rate that allows them to pay owner-drivers enough.

 

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