NatRoad’s GCCD exemption application rejected

By: Anjali Behl


Commissioner notes NatRoad does not have the right to make the application, ARTIO NSW and TWU rejoice

NatRoad’s GCCD exemption application rejected
Both ARTIO NSW and TWU are critical of NatRoad's push for an exemption for its members from the GCCD.

 

The News South Wales Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) has dismissed the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad’s) application to have its members exempted from the changes to the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD).

The Commission has also dismissed NatRoad’s second application to have the interim determination rules varied on the ground that NatRoad "does not have standing to make such application".

Commissioner Murphy states that under the guidelines of the Industrial Relations 1991 Act, NatRoad does not have the right to present these applications.

With both the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO’s) NSW branch and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) opposed to this application from the beginning, the two parties have expressed content at the decision.

The commissioner stated that under the rules defined in the Act an "an unregistered association is not an ‘association of employing contractors’" and therefore it does not have the right to "commence proceedings before a tribunal".

The subject of NatRoad’s right to submit an exemption application to the Commission had been raised earlier by the ARTIO NSW, which questioned whether NatRoad had the right to be heard by the IRC.

The decision states: "On the basis that the terms ‘association of employing contractors’, ‘association of contract drivers’ and ‘association of contract carriers’ in the IR Act refer only to such associations as are registered, it follows that unregistered associations do not have access to the following provisions of the IR Act:

  • Section 322 – Agreements concerning contract conditions.
  • Section 332 – Compulsory conference with respect to disputes.
  • Part 7 of Chapter 6 – Compensation for termination of certain contracts of carriage.
  • Section 187 – Appeals to Full Bench from decision of Commission.
  • Part 1 of Chapter 5 – Principles of association.
  • Part 7 of Chapter 5 – Entry and inspection by officers of industrial organisations.
  • Chapter 7 – Enforcement."

"In his decision, Commissioner Murphy stated that the regulatory framework for representation of owner-drivers and principal contractors would be through representative associations (or registered organisations)," ARTIO NSW secretary Hugh McMaster says.

"Commissioner Murphy’s decision reinforces the integrity of the NSW industrial relations system insofar as representation of principal contractors and contract carriers, or owner-drivers before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission is concerned."

TWU NSW branch secretary Richard Olsen says the decision is an "important win for owner drivers in NSW".

"NatRoad do not represent owner drivers, they represent companies which want to rip them off," Olsen says.

The union criticises NatRoad and the Australian Industry (Ai) Group for seeking changes to the transport awards, including:

  • "The introduction of part-time work for long-distance truck drivers, aimed at reducing their take-home pay in comparison to full-time pay.
  • "Changes to when paid meal break allowances kick in for truck drivers who work beyond their normal shift hours.
  • Changes so that employers pay less superannuation.
  • Changes to the definition of loading and unloading to limit what they have to pay for when truck drivers are on the job.
  • To reduce the agreed distance and time it takes to travel between cities – to pay truck drivers less."

The union says these changes will "leave drivers thousands of dollars worse off". 

"NatRoad know there is a problem in this industry but instead of seeking to hold wealthy retailers and manufacturers to account for their low cost contracts it is going after drivers’ wages and rates to make a buck for their members," TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says.

"This attack on drivers must end."

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