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TWU says Toll Group fails in cost recovery for operators

The TWU says Toll Group contracted operators are getting nowhere with cost recovery negotiations

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) says Toll Group has provided an empty-handed offer on cost recovery for diesel for owner operators who are contracted to Toll and carting groceries for Woolworths from its Minchinbury DC.

The TWU says Toll has not heard small business owner concerns and has offered them 10 cents a pallet extra to combat the rising costs of running a heavy vehicle. 

Diesel is costing anywhere from $500-$1000 extra per week for each truck. The union says drivers are still recovering from the temporary removal of the Fuel Tax Credit scheme.

In early September, owner operators allegedly sought relief from Toll management about the costs pressure on their small businesses because of the crippling impacts of the recent diesel price hikes.

TWU State Secretary Richard Olsen says: “Toll has missed the point its contracted drivers were making. Toll, who has reported a $7.6 billion revenue for 2022, has ignored driver concerns about their costs of doing business and have come up almost empty handed in their response.

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“Let’s put the Toll Group offer into real terms, it’s a kick in the teeth for these owner operators driving Toll’s business forward. Toll’s idea of cost relief is around one litre of diesel at today’s prices per 22 pallets on a single trailer. It covers the first two kilometres of a driver’s trip. It is even less than the cost of a litre of milk at Woolworths.”

Over the past year, the TWU says operators expressed safety concerns to Toll Group management based on cost recovery issues. Operators have allegedly been asking for a fair rate of pay that ensures they can maintain vehicles, recover out of control costs from fuel and Transurban toll roads, take home a decent wage and ensure safety and fairness as they work for Toll.

“Owner operators are expected to carry the costs. They are the people that keep Toll’s business moving, and kept it moving during the pandemic. Toll’s offer is disrespectful and it amounts to wage theft,” Olsen says.

The TWU is highlighting the urgent need for supply chain accountability to ensure cost recovery does not become a struggle for owner operators.

“We welcome the federal government’s intention to make transport a fairer, safer, and more sustainable industry by setting enforceable standards through the Fair Work Commission, this is lifesaving reform,” Olsen says.

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