Owner drivers have challenged Toll after the transport operator unilaterally terminated an agreement with them, reducing their wages by up to $1000 a week.
Drivers in Victoria have told the Fair Work Commission a new agreement with a low hourly rate will force them out of business and impoverish their families. The drivers had been operating under the Independent Contractor Agreement 2014 when Toll sent letters to each driver last August informing them it would terminate the agreement immediately.
These drivers take on enormous liability in owning their own trucks and running their own businesses. They must maintain those trucks to ensure they are working safely, that their taxes, insurance, work cover are paid and that have a wage to support their families. Toll’s sudden move to cancel a long-standing agreement with these drivers is an attack on their livelihoods.
There are consequences to putting owner drivers under financial pressure which can result in deaths and injuries from truck crashes. Drivers should not be forced to work harder and delay vital maintenance on their trucks just to support their families. Toll must take responsibility for the pressure it is clearly putting these drivers under.
Drivers gave evidence that the new hourly wage would put them below the rate Toll employees are paid, when the costs of running their trucks and businesses were taken out.
Shane Crapper, an owner driver with Toll since 2006, said in a witness statement: “I believe that the majority of owner drivers who are now losing between $500 and $1,000 per week were forced onto this new owner driver agreement or be otherwise terminated. They were forced to accept the new agreement under the realisation that they would inevitably be unemployed and unable to feed their families.”