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A Safe and Sustainable Transport Industry

Safe Rates SummiT:

21 November 2011 • Parliament House, Canberra

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Contents
Introduction .............................................................. 3 2011 Safe Rates Survey ........................................... 4 Key Findings From the Survey ............................... 5 Death and Injury in Our Industry ..................... 6-7 The Link Between Pay and Safety ................... 8-11 Client Power: Why They Are the Key...........12-13 Safe Rates: It’s Time to Act ............................14-17 Notes .................................................................. 18-19
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2011 SAFE RATES SURVEY

Tom, a 40-year-old driver from the Central Coast of NSW, was one of 715 drivers who filled in the 2011 Safe Rates Survey. Tom’s words sum up the pressures and dangers of the industry.

Introduction
any other. “Australia’s truck drivers work hard to make a living. But they shouldn’t have to die to make a living.” After that declaration she set up the Safe Rates Advisory Group (SRAG) to advise Government on options for legislative action to address the crisis. The SRAG report has been handed to Government. The wide-ranging public consultation process is complete and Minister Albanese has committed that the Government “intends to introduce legislation, if required, by the end of this year…” In the two years since the first Safe Rates Summit, the crisis has deepened. The “statistics” (each of which was a caredfor member of a community; a father, mother, sister, son, brother or daughter) have worsened. The survey responses have deteriorated. The time to act is now. Safe Rates Summit 2011 is a chance for industry participants from drivers to employers, clients and industry associations, experts and political representatives to come together in pursuit of a common objective. We all want a safe and sustainable transport industry – one which provides drivers like Tom a fighting chance of a safe return each night to home and family. TONY SHELDON MICHAEL KAINE

I am doing 24 hours in unpaid waiting times a week. With trailers being pre-loaded by (CLIENT NAME SUPPRESSED), I cannot afford to wait another hour or so unpaid while they unload and reload a set of trailers to get the legal weight. I carry overweight regularly and I don’t have a choice.

After he is loaded, Tom has already been working for four to six hours without pay. Disturbingly, his work day is only just starting and he will be sitting in the cab – on our highways and in our cities and suburbs for the next 12 hours, or until the load is done. The pressures placed on drivers like Tom have been directly acknowledged by the Government. In August 2011 Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said “It is a fact that many truck drivers have been subject to unreasonable and unsafe directions or threats concerning their work because of the demands of powerful clients.” And the most tragic consequence of such pressure is that an average of 330 people are killed each year in the road transport industry with the latest Department of Transport and Infrastructure figures [2010] showing that 72% of those killed in crashes are the occupants other vehicles. That is up 14% on 2009. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has acknowledged how much more deadly the trucking industry is than

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I was doing a run from Darwin to Toowoomba. They told me to load (unpaid) 6 hours before log book would allow. I was told that was the deal - take it or leave it. I had to take it.

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2011 Safe Rates Survey
Back in 2009, the Transport Workers’ Union conducted a survey of drivers to assess the working conditions of drivers across the industry. That survey found 64 per cent of drivers had been pressured into unsafe working practices, 85% could not recover costs and 56 per cent were forced, by economic pressure, to lower maintenance standards. Two years later and the Safe Rates 2011 Survey was conducted over a three-week period ending on November 11, and took comment from 715 transport workers from across the country. Drivers were interviewed at truck stops, depots, break rooms, and online. The survey results showed that: Unpaid work 48% of drivers report almost a day a week in unpaid waiting time. For delivery drivers it is more than 10 hours a week. This represents 300 - 500 hours a year working without pay. As in our 2009 survey an alarming 56% of owner drivers have had to forego vehicle maintenance because of economic pressure, the need to keep working or the high cost of repairs.

Unsafe vehicles -

Unnecessary risk - 27% felt they had to drive too fast, and nearly 40% feel pressured to drive longer than legally allowed; many say the pressure comes directly or indirectly from the client.

Paid waiting time increases operational and environmental efficiencies
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Key findings from Survey
How long have you worked in the transport industry? What is your date of birth?

         

1-2 years 3-5 years 5-10 years 10-20 years 20 or more years

5% 4% 16% 30% 45%

76 per cent of surveys completed by 10-year plus veterans Have you ever felt pressure to:

           

18-30 Years 31-40 Years 41-50 Years 51-60 Years 61-70 Years Over 71 Years

4% 25% 34% 27% 9% 1%

This is an aging workforce – we need to provide careers for future drivers How many unpaid hours waiting time have you done in the previous week?

       

Drive at unsafe speeds Break driving hours Carry an illegally large load Otherwise use unsafe practices

26% 38% 17% 19%

One-in-four drivers admitted to being pressured to drive at unsafe speeds, while one in three have been forced to break driving hours If yes, when?

         

Up to 1 hour 1-3 hours 3-6 hours 6-10 hours Over 10 hours

2% 9% 15% 22% 52%

Over 50 per cent of drivers are working oneday a week unpaid Owner drivers: When fuel prices rise, do you get fuel levy increases?

       

Last 3 months Last 3-12 months Last 1-3 years. More than 3 years ago

54% 16% 18% 12%

One in four drivers have admitted to doing this in the last month Do you know if pressure is applied on your employer/ contractor to demand unsafe practices?

   

Yes No

41% 59%

How do you make up that loss if you are a driver? Owner drivers: Have you foregone maintenance on your vehicle because of economic pressure?

   

Yes No

23% 77%

The pressure is coming from beyond the transport company Do you consider leaving the transport industry for other work?

   

Yes No

56% 44%

Unsafe trucks on the road because people cannot afford maintenance Would you recommend that your kids get a job in the transport industry?

Always Often Occasionally Never

18% 24% 34% 24%

   

Yes No

22% 78%

This needs to be fixed

With the industry set to double in the next 10 years, how can we attract people?

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I was buggered. I tried to have an extra 15 minutes rest and the client was on the phone to my boss who rang me to find out why I would be late. I was too tired to drive but had to.

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Death and injury
An industry in crisis
No matter which way you look at the death and injury figures in our industry they are tragic. We all know the grief and social dislocation that occurs across families and communities when loved ones are so suddenly killed or maimed. According to the National Transport Commission, approximately 330 people are killed nationally each year in truck crashes representing $2 billion a year of the $15 billion cost of all road crashes.


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And these effects are not confined to any one sector of the industry. A recent short haul study found close to one-third of drivers (29 per cent) reported having a chronic injury from truck driving. Nearly one-third of drivers (29.5 per cent) reported having filed a workers’ compensation claim in the past five years. Injuries are also statistically more likely to happen the longer you are in the industry: for every one year increase in truck driving experience, the odds of injury increases by 6 per cent. Findings extract from Williamson, Boyle, Quinlan and Kennedy Short Trips and Long Days: Safety and Health in Short-haul Trucking, 2009

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y in our industry

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When I started driving, I was 6 foot 1 inch tall. When I stopped, I was 5 foot 10. One day, I stood up from playing with my daughter on the couch and collapsed from the sudden agony. I could not move the bottom half of my body. It turned out that all the joints in my spine had compressed. My doctors informed me that this was most likely caused by me spending so long in a seated position. I was required to lie flat on my back to allow my spine to slowly return to normal. It took many weeks before I got any feeling back in my legs and I was not able to walk for many months. I had to go on anti-depressants to reverse the chemical imbalance that drugs had caused in my body. Before the back injury I had to have an operation to remove one of my testicles. This was because of bad circulation from sitting down in the vehicle for long periods at a time in the vehicle. It took me almost 2 years to return to normal from those physical traumas. I have only just started to get close to my children over the past 18 months.
NAME SUPPRESSED, South Australia 2011 Safe Rates Survey

Robert Ireland, 14 years driving trucks, Statement for Mutual Responsibility Award

Tom 36 years old, 2011 Safe Rates Survey Surveyed in Tarcutta

Due to a large increase in unpaid waiting times, I feel pressured to break driving hours and I don’t include loading and unloading in my schedule - it can’t be classed as rest. This also is evident when it comes to speeding. We spend enough unpaid time already waiting to load or unload and doing all the paperwork unpaid, or even delays with night road-works, it means that in order to make your time slot you either need to have less fatigue breaks or break the speed limit. There is no other way.

Andrew Villis, Former driver, Evidence to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission

I have been supplied drugs by my employer in order to miss my breaks and make the (retail) client’s unreasonable time slot.

When I was required to perform excessive hours I would sometimes experience a state of mind that I can only describe as hallucinations, which I considered to be due to sleep deprivation. I would ‘see’ trees turning into machinery, which would lift my truck off the road. I ‘saw’ myself run over motorcycles, cars and people. On one occasion I held up the highway in Grafton while waiting for a truck which was not there to do a three point turn (I was radioed by drivers behind me asking why I had stopped). I estimate that I had experiences like these roughly every second day. They were not an uncommon thing for me.

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The times allocated by the client for trucks having to meet deadlines are just not possible in peak hour traffic.

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THE LINK BETWEEN
LINK BETWEEN SAFETY OUTCOMES AND ECONOMIC PRESSURES
The National Transport Commission considers that this link is a tripartite link:

Safe Rates Safe Roads: Directions Paper (Safe Rates Advisory Group, 2011, p.5)

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Customer and consignor requirements on price, schedules and loading/unloading and freight contracts more generally, in conjunction with the atomistic and intensely competitive nature of the industry, encourage problematic tendering practices, unsustainable freight rates and dangerous work practices. Professor Quinlan

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N PAY AND SAFETY

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When I first started out in the sixties, a truck driver received a fair wage. We worked damn hard but always felt as though we were appreciated and treated fairly. Now 40 odd years later the industry is run by big business who wouldn’t know their arse from their elbow and treat truckies and their families as a disposable commodity. Finally the evidence as to the drivers’ payments structure was not disputed. They were not paid for washing the truck, queuing to load or to unload, nor for other necessary work activities such as filling up with fuel, inspecting the truck, making telephone calls or completing paperwork. They were paid a fixed rate for each kilometre driven and a predetermined sum for loading and unloading each load, regardless of how long it actually took. The system provided a clear incentive for drivers to maximize kilometers (this was the only way to increase income) thereby extending driving hours; but little scope for reducing the time taken to perform other necessary work for which they were not paid. In Inspector Campbell v James Gordon Hitchcock, [2004] NSWIR Comm87, para. 1

Mick, 68 years old Mackay: Queensland 2011 Safe Rates Survey

NSW Deputy Coroner Dorelle Pinch expressed the consequence of this heightened ‘exposure to risk’ in her 2003 findings regarding the tragic deaths of employee drivers Anthony Forsythe, Barry Supple and Timothy John Walsh. The Coroner highlighted the impact of inadequate rates: As long as driver payments are based on a (low) rate per kilometre there will always be an incentive for drivers to maximise the hours they drive, not because they are greedy but simply to earn a decent wage.
State Coroner’s Summation and Finding in relation to Anthony Forsythe, Barry Supple and Timothy John Walsh, file numbers 1575/00, 1455/00 and 1734/00, 30 January 2003.

Robert Driving 22 years on Pacific Highway 2011 Safe Rates Survey Interviewed at Warnervale

I have been sacked for refusing to perform a load on a b-double, which would have made the load illegal and oversize. I had asked the same client for two weeks off to have my steer tyres replaced and do other work on the truck. They said no but then I had the drivers’ side steer-tyre blow at 100klm/hr when I was fully loaded. It is sheer luck nobody was killed.

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It is the waiting that hurts. It can cost drivers sometimes 2-8 hours per day unpaid. This means you need to drive a further 8-12 hours a day (after your 8 hours wait) just to make reasonable wages for the time you are away.

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THE LINK BETWEEN
Tom 40 years old 2011 Safe Rates Survey Interviewed Marulan

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I am doing 24 hours in unpaid waiting times a week. With trailers being pre-loaded by (CLIENT NAME SUPPRESSED), I cannot afford to wait another hour or so unpaid while they unload and reload a set of trailers to get the legal weight. I carry overweight regularly and I don’t have a choice.

Ian 61 years old 2011 Safe Rates Survey Interviewed Ballarat

The company I work for has no knowledge of what is legally required by them or me. To tell you the truth, I don’t think they want to know. If I don’t do the work they will get another owner driver to do the work.

A number of submissions have argued that the ‘payment by results’ method used in road transport is a major contributor to driver fatigue. This type of payment may encourage drivers to work longer hours to increase their earnings and the propensity of drivers to engage in dangerous practices (such as speeding and excessive hours).
BEYOND THE MIDNIGHT OIL: Managing Fatigue in the Transport Industry, Report to House of Representative Standing Committee on Communications, Transport and the Arts, October 2000

The pay increase influenced safety by modifying the behavior of current drivers. The data indicate that drivers had better crash records after the pay increase, when the analysis controls for demographic, occupational, and human capital characteristics.
‘Pay Incentives and Truck Driver Safety: A Case Study’

Published in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review (59 Ind. & Lab. Rel. Rev. 205), January 2006

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N PAY AND SAFETY

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Higher driver pay is associated with safer operations. Clearly the more drivers are paid, and the more they are paid for their non-driving time, the less likely they are to have crashes ... If the fundamental exigencies of markets work at all, then cargo owners’ need for lowest price will lead to a race to the bottom and safety will suffer. Because economic forces are involved, economic solutions must be considered. Michael Belzer The Economics of Safety: How Compensation Affects Commercial Motoe Vehicle Driver Safety Prepared for Safe Rates Summit 2011

We consider that the evidence in the proceedings established that there is a direct link between methods of payment and/or rates of pay and safety outcomes. Transport Industry – Mutual Responsibility for Road Safety (State) Award and Contract Determination (No.2), [2006] NSWIR Comm 328, para. 34.

Trucks “comprise around 2.1% of registered vehicles and account for 8.6 per cent of all kilometres travelled. They are, however, involved in more than 21 per cent of all fatal crashes.” The report acknowledged that economic pressures effects safety, saying: “the question of adequate remuneration does raise workforce and safety issues which are of direct concern”. NSW Parliament Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety: ‘Report on Heavy Vehicle Safety’, September, 2010

A study, funded by NSW WorkCover, shows that truck drivers are frequently forced to break driving regulations in order to make a living. It showed drivers are working an average of 68 hours a week, while almost a third are breaking all driving laws and doing more than 72 hours a week. Only 25 per cent of drivers were paid waiting times, and almost 60 per cent of drivers surveyed were not paid for loading or unloading. 60 per cent of drivers admitted to “nodding off ” at the wheel over the last 12 months. Anne Williamson and Rena Friswell: ‘External Influences on Health and Safety Outcomes in NSW long distance trucking,’ August, 2010

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There was an electrical fault and the wiring in the trailer kept blowing a fuse. I was driving through the night with no lights.

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CLIENT POWER: WH
At the head of transport supply chains are industry clients with highly concentrated economic power. A prime example of this is in the retail sector, where a very small number of major clients hold over 78% market share. Such economic clout means the power to dictate the way the work is ultimately performed. The body of academic, judicial and coronial evidence - supported by the 2009 and 2011 survey results - demonstrate that a root cause of unsafe payments and practices is the commercial dominance and influence of such clients. The challenge is to ensure that a Safe Rates System encourages that influence to be exercised to increase safety and standards in supply chains and not to accelerate the downward spiral which is forcing drivers to the extremities of the law and to the limits of physical and mental endurance just to make a living for themselves and their families.

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In an environment of fierce competition among operators and cost containment and reduction pressures from large and powerful clients, the result has been extensive use of subcontracted owner drivers at reduced and questionable, unsustainable rates. This has placed pressure on the payment of employed drivers, leading to widespread use of trip per kilometre-based rates. Federal Government’s Safe Rates Advisory Group’s Safe Rates, Safe Roads direction paper

The Review recommends that a national scheme for setting mandatory safe rates covering both employee and owner/drivers be established in the heavy vehicle industry. This is the only viable and direct mechanism for addressing the imbalance in bargaining power confronting owner/drivers that affects safety in the road freight industry.
Remuneration and Safety in the Australian Heavy Vehicle Industry: A Review undertaken for the National Transport Commission, authored by Professor Michael Quinlan, and The Hon Lance Wright, QC

This is not about taking competition out of the system. This is a highly competitive industry and will always be. This is about putting safety into the industry. Tony Sheldon TWU National Secretary

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Y THEYARETHEKEY

… truck drivers are still placed under what is, clearly, intolerable pressure in order to get produce to the markets or goods to their destination within a time fixed, not by any rational consideration of the risks involved in too tight a timetable, but by the dictates of the marketplace. Or, to put it bluntly, sheer greed on the part of the end users of these transport services. Justice Graham found, in Regina v Randall John Harm, 2005

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I avoid the places where there are point to point speed cameras and am constantly working 13 hours plus a day in city traffic.

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Safe Rates: It

Safe Rates Companies Call for Safe Rates Across the Industry: There are now over 200 registered agreements right across the country covering over 50 000 workers that contain safe rates clauses. The agreements provide safe payment systems for directly engaged drivers, job security provisions and safe rates committees and collaborative auditing processes to improve safety in the supply chains relating to the employer’s work. The agreements are with large companies and small including (to name a few) Toll, CEVA, ACFS, Australian Air Express, TNT, Airport Fuel Services, StarTrack, Linfox and ComputerTrans.

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But we would like to see the same commitment throughout the road transport industry, and we support the introduction of safe rates. Linfox CEO Michael Byrne, in signing the 2011 Enterprise Bargaining Agreement Company, the Employees and the TWU will work co-operatively in ensuring a safe and sustainable transport industry - clause 19.3. Extract, TNT-TWU Fair Work Agreement 2011-2013

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's time to act

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It was certainly an issue during my time in NSW politics because we were very conscious that far too many truck drivers and members of the public die on our roads in crashes that are preventable. Bob Carr Safe Rates Summit, 2009 Some of the bigger players can’t have it both ways. Safety issues are paramount, particularly where drivers are pushed to their limits. Tony Windsor Independent MP, 2009 My preferred option for a Tribunal would be option (b) defined in the paper as “A safe rates panel within Fair Work Australia with the power to make orders regarding safe rates and related terms in the road transport industry”. Tim Squires, Tothag Transport - Safe Rates Directions Paper Submission 2011 … quite clearly someone has to stand up for the ordinary truck drivers who work long hours on our highways.(October 23, 2008) I understand that there are cost recovery pressures for drivers. (October 2011). Warren Truss Current Leader of the Nationals Assuming an overdraft interest rate of 11%, delays in payment of 90 days will reduce an operator’s earnings by around 3%. For many operators, these interest costs will substantially reduce their operating profit, typically by up to one half. Uncertainty and delays in payment therefore pose a significant business cost and risk ... All these waiting times, as well as time spent loading and unloading, will typically not be charged against the customers’ accounts, nor is there any recourse to the manager of the port, saleyard, or silo… ALTA would expect a successfully implemented reform initiative to improve safety.
Australian Livestock Transporters Association submission to “Safe Rates, Safe Roads Directions Paper,” Safe Rates Advisory Group, February 2011

Around 330 people are killed each year on Australian roads in crashes involving heavy vehicles, and about 16 per cent of the fatalities are truck drivers. Speed and fatigue are widely acknowledged as significant factors and can be a symptom of the pressure to work long hours to meet schedules.

Julia Gillard June 20, 2010.

We cannot have drivers being under such financial pressure that they scrimp on vehicle servicing or delay buying new tyres or that they speed to meet delivery slots to avoid penalties or that they drive excessive hours and use stimulants to make a basic living. We can’t have payment systems that reward drivers for dangerous behaviour. Mark Arbib Minister for Employment, 2009

As a former personal injury lawyer, apart from the human tragedy and loss of life we are seeing on the roads, there is also the social and economic costs that have to be looked at. Nick Xenaphon 2011 Safe Rates has to apply to every vehicle in the supply chain – otherwise it cannot work. Phil Lovel, Victorian Transport Association, 2011 Truck drivers are obviously doing it tough, and based on the form of legislation we’d be more than happy to support safe rates. Adam Bandt Australian Greens

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I am forever loading and unloading at night without lights. The company knows the trailers need work but they won’t take them off the road.

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We have been talking about this for too long- the time for bullshit is over. Just bloody well do it! Senator Glenn Sterle May 2011 It has got me beat how they (owner drivers) are surviving quite frankly, you see them lining up at distribution centres for anywhere between six, seven or eight hours a day trying to unload. They don’t get paid for any of that. Glen Stutsel Linfox employee driver I believe that you around this table today can help us survive into the future. It only comes through having legislation that underpins minimum standards and pay rates. We need your help. Everyone of you ... lets not make today’s deadline tomorrows headline. Paul Dewbury lorry owner driver NatRoad considers that there may be some merit in mandating the payment of demurrage, including chain of responsibility arrangements.
NatRoad submission to the “Safe Rates, Safe Roads Directions Paper,” Safe Rates Advisory Group, February 2011

Safe Rates: It
The Tribunal should be given broad powers which allow it to “vary” contracts in such a way that makes them “safe” and such matters could only be determined by a panel involving industry representatives. Some examples of variations which the tribunal could make include: ♦ an order that demurrage be paid, ♦ a higher rate be paid, ♦ that certain practices be altered or ceased, ♦ that a client change their supply chain practices to ensure the transport task can be more safely carried out, or ♦ that a client who has had the benefit of work being done by the transport company make good any outstanding payments due within an agreed or specified time frame

There needs to be a recognition that transport companies have been ‘hung out to dry’ by clients who withhold payments for 90, or even 120 days, to fund their own cashflow. The Tribunal would be able to: ♦ exercise compulsory arbitration powers to resolve disputes, ♦ make industry determinations or ♦ hold inquiries into work practices in the industry with initial emphasis on “safety in the linehaul/long distance sector” but with an understanding over time, that all elements and sectors of the industry would be subject to review to ensure safety is paramount.
Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) Safe Rates Directions Paper Submission 11 February 2011

At the moment I work under a system where I have to argue in order to get a sustainable rate … There are unspoken pressures that are put on you that, if you don’t get in on time you basically won’t get the next job. Frank Black owner driver

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Members of the NRFA across Australia are voicing their concerns about the diminishing freight volumes and even lower rates, the increased level of competition is allowing the people controlling the freight to drive the rates down further as desperation sets in, for many the move to fix the problem will come too late, if at all National Road Freighters Association - Safe Rates Safe Directions Paper Submission 2011

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's time to act
Customers are unable to use bargaining power to drive costs down to unsafe levels, Demurrage, or payment for time spent waiting in queues for loading/unloading, may encourage more efficient distribution and dispatch systems
Australian Logistics Council (Representing Clients such as Coles and Woolies and Major Operators such as Toll) Submission to the National Transport Commission’s Review on Safe Payments 2008

There is sound argument for;

Rates of remuneration for employee drivers and owner drivers that are ‘safe’;

Requirements upon road transport operators to plan for the safe and legal performance of road transport journeys; The establishment of a ‘chain of responsibility’ in which all participants in the contractual chain are accountable for the safe and legal performance of road transport work and the payment of safe and reasonable minimum rates of remuneration. Senator Jacinta Collins Perth, 2011 The evidence is in. A widely-supported solution based on an independent tribunal implementing & maintaining a system of safe payments and industry practices has been proposed. Too many Australians are dying in avoidable incidents. It’s time to act. S

In conclusion, as a country that needs interstate drivers, and in a democratic country where the owner/driver individual believes hard work can overcome financial burden, are we able to address the primary concerns of the costs involved in the purchase of the prime mover and the ongoing high risks to the purchaser’s collateral? The establishment of a tribunal that takes into account, costs, wages and safety could have the capacity to support owner drivers.
Dr. Jann Karp, PhD - 2011

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Source: ABC news

Benefits of Safe Rates of Pay Certainty of income for employees and owner-drivers, Safe and sustainable rates of pay are not undercut in the highly competitive market, Operators compliance with fatigue and speed regulations may increase with a shift from payments based on a “per-trip” basis to payments based on time taken,

I would definitely discourage my children from following this path. There are too many hours you work for no pay. And there is a huge lack of access to basic facilities such as toilets – we are not dogs!!

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Notes

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Notes

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Most of the transport companies I have worked for are late paying wages or only pay half your wages and change the rules to suit themselves.

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Authorised by Tony Sheldon National Secretary Transport Workers Union of Australia Level 2, 388 Sussex Street, Sydney, 2000.

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Safe Rates Summit 2011 PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY

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