The safeguards mean employers will be forced to pay financial penalties if drivers on part-time arrangements work full-time hours, to ensure part-time work is not used as a way for not paying drivers full-time work benefits, such as annual leave, superannuation and allowances.
TWU (VIC/TAS BRANCH) Secretary John Berger said the decision would protect a group of workers – being part-time employees – who had for too long been abused by employers across a range of industries.
“We had no intention whatsoever of this trend becoming rampant across the trucking industry and we welcome any decision that will help protect TWU members and help keep the roads safer,” John said.
“However, this is just been one battlefront in the long, continuous war we are waging to ensure every class of truck driver, whether company employees or part of a supply chain, in every industry can drive safely and without pressure, can properly maintain their vehicles, that those at the top of the supply chain are held accountable and that the roads are as safe as we can possibly make them.”
TWU National Assistant Secretary Michael Kaine said “NatRoad were chancing their arms trying to bring in part-time work so they could pay drivers less”.
“The Commission agreed with the TWU that this would leave drivers ‘vulnerable to abuse’. It backed our safeguards which will allow drivers transitioning to retirement to reduce their workload while ensuring that drivers working full-time hours get full-time pay and benefits,” he said.
Drivers working part-time can only work a maximum of three days per week in a roster set down and agreed in writing at the time of engagement. Any deviation from this schedule will mean employers have to pay drivers a 15% loading on either the cent per kilometre or hourly driving rate.
“Another attempt by NatRoad to rip drivers off has been foiled. This organisation has no interest in holding wealthy retailers and manufacturers at the top of the supply chain to account for financially squeezing transport operators. It is only interested in stealing from the most vulnerable part of the industry – the drivers. It will not get away with this,” Kaine added.
Last year the Commission warned about the attempt to bring in part-time work without safeguards.
“We accept the submission of the TWU that the provision proposed by the Ai Group would be vulnerable to abuse and could be used in a way which undermined the already limited minimum terms and conditions of the Long Distance Award,” it stated.
“This potential for abuse must be given significance because the long distance road transport industry is characterised by intense competition, commercial pressure from supply chains and a high degree of award non-compliance.”
The Commission saw through the application for part-time work by some employer groups: “An employer could be employed on a nominally part-time basis but actually required to perform full-time driving duties on the cents per kilometre rate. The driver would be disadvantaged because when the driver took leave entitlements he or she would be paid at only a pro-rated weekly minimum rate, not the full weekly minimum rate to which full-time drivers are entitled.”
As a result the Commission said part time work could only be introduced once adequate compensation was given to drivers when working extra hours.