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TWU debates over lunch break rules

Union says Prosegur Australia's new meal break notice affects ‘lunch on road' allowance


The Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Adelaide has discontinued an application by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) seeking resolution to an ongoing dispute over lunch break rules with employer Prosegur Australia.

The union claimed the management had asked armoured vehicle operators (AVOs) not to have their meal break within the vehicle unless specifically directed to do so.

Until the notice was handed down, it was common for a crew member to be required to stay in the vehicle for security reasons during lunch and receive a 30-minute ‘lunch on road’ allowance for the time spent in the vehicle.

The clause stated: “An employee required to remain in the vehicle for any part of the lunch break shall receive a 30-minute paid lunch inclusive of the time spent in the vehicle. In addition each member of the crew in such circumstances shall receive an allowance as set out in Appendix 1, Rates of Pay, Lunch on Road allowance.”

The Commission’s preliminary view in the matter suggests that “if the employer no longer requires the AVOs to take any part of their lunch break in the AV, the allowance and paid time provisions do not apply”.

Apart from the lunch on road allowance dispute, the union has also raised a number of issues that are related to meal break rules.

In terms of the work health and safety issues, the FWC states that in general, if the AVOs are permitted to take their lunch break within the AVs, it would appear to “go a long way” to deal with those concerns.

Additionally, the Commission states that there are also a series of other risk control measures not suitable for public disclosure that have been introduced in more recent years that have preceded the change.

The Commission has recommended the two sides to devise a set of general guidelines concerning lunch break rules, including nature of locations and timing of breaks, while they continue to engage in bargaining talks.

“That the TWU and Prosegur hold discussions leading to the development of some general guidelines to be issued by the employer concerning where lunch breaks should be taken by the AVOs during runs and the general procedures to be applied in that regard,” the Commission states.

“The TWU has also raised additional issues about the impact of the change upon the remuneration of the AVOs and these are matters better considered as part of the bargaining process in which the parties are presently engaged.”

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