RSRT urged to resolve outstanding issues before switching attention to the courier and cash-in-transit industries
By Brad Gardner | October 11, 2013
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal
(RSRT) is being urged to use its second annual work program to finalise a host of unresolved matters and then switch its focus to the courier and cash-in-transit industries.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has written to the tribunal with a wishlist of what it wants prioritised in 2014.
The RSRT is in the midst of finishing off its expansive first program, which, targets the retail, long distance, bulk grain and livestock sectors, but it is currently accepting industry submissions on the areas it should focus on next.
The TWU believes outstanding retail-specific matters it raised during the first annual program, including obligations on the supply chain, payment to drivers for all time worked, cost recovery for contractors and the establishment of an education and training levy, should be the basis of the second program.
It also wants the tribunal to address livestock transport matters that did not make it on to the inaugural agenda.
“These include: addressing the non-payment of washouts; acknowledging and accounting for the different equipment utilisation profile of rural operators; and examining the value of mandatory accreditation/licencing in the light of patent failure of voluntary schemes,” the union writes.
“Dealing with these issues would allow the Tribunal to set minimum standards across a contained and measurable market sector while establishing safe remuneration principles that would be useful to the industry more broadly.
“The TWU requests that livestock transportation is again placed on the annual work program.”
The union argues that the courier and cash-in-transit sectors should be included if time permits.
It claims pressure from banks and retail businesses on rates and conditions is pushing down safety and security in the cash-in-transit industry, a similar concern it raises about the courier sector.
“The courier and parcel sector of the industry is highly competitive and brings with it dangerous and unsustainable work pressures and systems of remuneration,” the TWU says.
“Many drivers are placed on marginal incentive piece rate systems that are not underpinned by any minima. This manifests itself in drivers working long hours in a manner that maximises the number of deliveries in the shortest possible timeframe in order to make a living.”
The TWU believes a focus on the retail sector has the potential to have wider benefits throughout the industry, given it accounts for 32 per cent of the road transport market.
“The retail sector constitutes a significant part of the industry as a whole and an inquiry directed at that sector has the potential to provide a model leading to effective change in the industry generally,” it says.
The union is also seeking a decision on pay rates for owner-drivers. The RSRT is due to a hold a hearing at an unspecified date on the matter to determine if set rates or a tribunal-approved cost model will work best.
“That process may well establish sets of minimum rates for owner-drivers. If that is the case, such rates will undoubtedly inform owner-driver rates to apply in other sectors,” the TWU says.
“Accordingly, the process is a central and formative one for the Tribunal and lends support to the submission that completion of outstanding matters from the inaugural program should be the first priority of the second work program.”