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TWU pushes new fuel levy system

The TWU wants prime contractors to pay a percentage-based fuel levy on a monthly basis.

By Brad Gardner

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is pushing a provision to force prime contractors to pay a percentage-based fuel levy on a monthly basis.

The union’s proposal for a new contract determination is being heard today by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC).

If passed, the Transport Industry—Fuel Levy Contract Determination, will require prime contractors to pay a percentage of remuneration to sub-contractors as a fuel levy.

It will also require prime contractors to review the percentage they pay on a monthly basis in order to reflect fluctuating fuel prices, which hit record highs this year.

A spokesman for TWU Federal Secretary Tony Sheldon says the determination will help sub-contractors deal with increasing fuel costs because they will not need to wait long periods to be reimbursed.

Furthermore, he says the requirement to review the levy on a monthly basis will help offset costs because under the current system some prime contractors do not review their pay methods for as long as a year.

“In basic terms, what it would mean is that a percentage of a driver’s base salary be paid to as a fuel levy and that should be updated each month based on the price of fuel,” the spokesman says.

“This means drivers will be compensated on a monthly basis for fuel.”

He says the determination, if passed, will apply to the majority of transport sectors.

However a decision by the IRC may not be made until the end of the year if the determination runs into opposition from sections of the transport industry.

Sheldon’s spokesman says the conciliation meeting today before the IRC will hear arguments for and against the determination. If an agreement cannot be reached the matter will be set down for arbitration and hearing.

The call for a new fuel payment system coincides with the TWU’s efforts to establish national minimum freight rates, which Sheldon argues is necessary to curb the heavy vehicle road toll.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) is currently reviewing the effectiveness of remuneration methods and will report its findings in November.

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