Peak body reveals plan to resolve unfair trucking contracts

Nine out of ten trucking businesses would be able to resolve contract disputes through the Fair Work Commission rather than the courts under a plan from the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) to fix unfair contracts.

The ATA refined the plan this week after a meeting between ATA director and past chair David Simon, new ATA CEO Mat Munro and the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Tony Burke.

“The meeting was a valuable opportunity to discuss the positions adopted by ATA members last week,” Simon said.

“Our working group met again this week to consider the minister’s views and information requests, and we have refined a plan to fix unfair contracts for small trucking businesses.

“Under our plan, trucking businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million per year would be able to resolve contract disputes in the Fair Work Commission rather than needing to go to court.”

Simon said that the 3900 larger businesses in the transport industry would continue to resolve unfair contract disputes through the courts, but against new, industry-specific standards.

{L-R] ATA CEO Mat Munro, Minister Tony Burke and ATA director David Simon.

“The FWC is not the right place for complex contract issues involving two large companies to be determined,” he said.

“The filing fee to go to the commission to deal with an unfair contract would be higher than the unfair dismissal fee, but it would still be very low cost compared to going to court.”

This week, the ATA working group also considered:

  • the FWC’s powers in relation to freight rates and cost schedules. The commission should not have the power to fix rates
  • the need to exclude businesses operating heavy vehicles from digital platform regulation
  • a two stage order-making process, with road transport orders published for consultation two years before coming into force
  • how to ensure the FWC’s role does not overlap with road safety regulation or driver licensing
  • the ability of the minister to require the FWC to stay and review an order.

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