RSRT orders employers to pay safe rates

RSRT orders employers to pay safe rates

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has issued a remuneration order affecting supermarket chains and other employers, and noted it has received no evidence disputing the link between low driver pay and poor safety outcomes.

The Transport Workers Union welcomed the order, saying it will ensure drivers are paid for waiting and queuing time, while loading and unloading vehicles, and while cleaning, inspecting, servicing and repairing their trucks and trailers.

It also ensures retailers and manufacturers that use transport operators are held to account for pressures placed on drivers, it said.

“We now have a binding, legally enforceable decision which makes those at the top of the supply chain accountable for the practices throughout,” TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said.

The road safety remuneration order “establishes minimum payments for contractor drivers in the road transport industry providing a road transport service involving distribution operations in relation to a supermarket chain and contractor drivers in the road transport industry providing a road transport service involving long distance operations”, RSRT President Jenny Acton, Commissioner Peter Hampton and member Professor Ann Williamson said in a decision accompanying the order.

It provides minimum payments for both distribution and long-distance operations, as well as providing for unpaid leave for contractor drivers.

The Tribunal members noted that a 2008 National Transport Commission inquiry identified a link between rates and methods of payments for truck drivers and a range of “on-road behaviours” that contribute to truck crashes, including fatigue, drug use, speeding and poor vehicle condition.

“While it cannot be shown that low rates of pay and methods of payments directly cause truck crashes, a point argued by several submissions, it can be shown that low rates of pay and performance-based payment systems do create an incentive for, or encourage, other on-road behaviours which lead to poor safety outcomes,” the inquiry found.

According to President Acton, Commissioner Hampton and Professor Williamson, a number of stakeholders had, at recent RSRT proceedings or in submissions, questioned whether there is any relationship between remuneration and safety, and suggested the NTC inquiry and other research on the issue are dated.

“Nothing, persuasive, however, has been put to lead us to conclude the substance of the material is not relevant to this decision,” they said.

They agreed, however, to postpone the commencement date of the new remuneration order from 1 January 2016 to 4 April 2016. It will expire on 3 April 2020.

Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (18 December 2015)


Summary of Decision

Six sectors confirmed for fourth program

In related news, the RSRT today released its Fourth Annual Work Program, which outlines the matters the Tribunal plans to inquire into in 2016 with a view to making other road safety remuneration orders.

As indicated in the draft version of the document, released in November these are:

  • sectors in the road transport and distribution industry within the meaning of the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010;
  • long-distance operations;
  • the cash-in-transit industry;
  • the oil, fuel and gas sectors of the road transport industry;
  • the wharf and port sectors of the road transport industry; and
  • the waste management industry.