Will all the loopholes really be closed? We’ll have to wait and see

Wives and partners of truckies are at home running the household, communicating budget requirements, angst, constraints, and leisure spending to their driver.

One common thread which we see all the time in many forums, and is unsettling, is that time and time again drivers are saying they’ve left a position and haven’t been paid.

Sure, some ‘entitled’ drivers have put themselves in this position, but more often than not, the owners of the companies are, well, thieves.

One situation recently occurred when a sales rep started for a company. At his own expense, he travelled interstate to collect a company car, which he had for two days before the wall of the tyre blew out.

Under instruction and consent from “head office” he got quotes on replacing the tyre. The specialist tyre supplier recommended that both front tyres be replaced as they are steer tyres, and the rep was given consent to replace both tyres.

The following day, the invoice was entered into the accounting system and the boss lost his mind. The boss said the rep had to pay for the two tyres himself. We are talking about $220 in total – God forbid! He then sacked the sales rep over the phone and will not pay him one red cent but will be invoicing him for the two tyres.

There are so many similar stories like this.

In another example, the employee charged with fleet maintenance sees the steel poking through what’s left of the rubber on the tyres, and many other shonky issues. They speak up about it as it is their neck on the chopping block, under chain of responsibility laws, to ensure vehicles are in safe, operating condition.

The  owner of another company places another co-owner next to the employee to “teach” the employee how to manage the fleet “their way” – which appears to include insurance fraud.

The icing on the cake – all the drivers are under ABNs and below award renumeration, and 99 per cent new Australians.

In another company, an employee sees the NHVR and politely suggests to the officer that he may like to cross over the intersection and wait for (name withheld’s) company trucks to come past. He didn’t. It appears that while this NHVR officer appeared disinterested, we have since been made aware that after a call to the hotline, they were listened to, proof provided and now action will be taken. The system can work.

What happens with these examples of the companies used above is the driver and industry always get shafted. While the drivers can leave and find other work, we all know some drivers will do anything for a buck and this gets exploited by unscrupulous owners – especially ones not from the industry.

It’s shocking that people like this continually get away with it. They do it by hiding behind multiple company structures, manipulation of assets between those businesses and getting rid of workers that threaten to disclose their criminal activities.

By doing this, they can undercut genuine businesses that do the right thing but cannot compete with the exceedingly low prices these criminals charge. An example of this scenario could be an accountant who has had no experience in the transport industry yet operates a company with the “toe cutter” mentality whilst neglecting many requirements of legislation, i.e. NHVL, WH&S, etc.

The bored neurotic housewives and partners must pick up the pieces, budget our backsides off, nurse our driver through it and all the fallout in the process. It can have a huge impact on the family dynamic, but hey, she’ll be right mate, at least the business owners can feed their family and keep the lights on.

The drivers can’t afford it, but some believe if they feed the ‘Black Dog’ the family will be okay.  They’re not. We would rather eject that damn dog and keep our partner – for better or worse.

There are so many variables that come into play at the bottom of the food chain, and no one cares, unless, of course, they apply for the ‘safety initiative’ funding handed out each quarter, but to what end?

All the bells and whistles, all the ticked boxes DON’T save a driver, only the owner’s butt.

It increases the “safety industry” in the legitimate companies, which in turn makes an insurance company happy, but the criminal enterprises ignore the requirements and just shut one business and start again – often in the same location with the same customers.

But it’s okay, the loopholes have been closed – allegedly.

  • The Bored Neurotic Housewife is a pseudonym for a concerned group of truckies’ wives and partners.

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