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Nationwide Transport and Logistics told to pay subbie $47k

Owner-driver awarded $47,770 in compensation after Nationwide Transport and Logistics terminates his contract

By Brad Gardner | March 30, 2012

Nationwide Transport and Logistics (NTL) has been left with a compensation bill of more than $45,000 after it was found guilty of unfairly terminating an owner-driver’s contract.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission awarded David Lynch, trading as Carnly Holdings, $47,770 plus interest after NTL boss Phillip Foster tore up his contract for talking to one of his clients.

Lynch carted goods for NTL customer OneSteel, but when NTL did not pay him for work completed last year he emailed management and the steel manufacturer saying he could not continue unless the matter was rectified.

The next day Foster rang Lynch telling him he would be paid, before adding: “By the way don’t bother coming to work tomorrow.”

When Lynch asked why, Foster responded: “Because you don’t speak to my customers.”

Justice Roger Boland ruled that the termination was unfair because OneSteel asked Lynch to keep it “in the loop” so arrangements could be made if the owner-driver pulled out.

“OneSteel had an interest in being informed because of the prospect of an interruption to supply,” Boland says.

“The failure by the respondent to make the payment when promised placed Mr Lynch in the position of being unable to continue with his business.”

During proceedings, Lynch told the Commission he was promised on three occasions he would be paid, but nothing happened.

“I do not understand why Mr Foster terminated my engagement with NTL, I simply had asked to be paid monies that were owed to me by NTL, and were overdue for which work had been completed in good faith,” Lynch’s affidavit says.

“It seems to have angered Mr Foster that I would not continue to work for him without payment.”

Boland labelled the $47,770 compensation claim “wholly justified” and also criticised NTL for initially claiming the email Lynch sent contained “defamatory comments”.

“A reading of the email suggests no such thing. The email simply recounts factually the circumstances Mr Lynch found himself in,” Boland says.

“The fact the respondent may have felt embarrassed was essentially caused by its own actions in failing to pay Mr Lynch on time and then failing to meet a further deadline for payment that it set itself.”

Prior to his contract being terminated, Lynch had been servicing OneSteel since 2004. He says he has had difficulty finding alternative work due to the specialised nature of his truck and trailer configuration.

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