Opinion

Union wins fuel costs pay rate increase

The TWU has had a win in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) for an increase to the rates paid under the General Carriers Contract Determination in NSW. 

This will provide some relief to owner-drivers in terms of your cost recovery for doing the job. 

Orders made by the IRC came into effect on April 18. The TWU will be reviewing the Temporary Fuel Surcharge with the courts on a monthly basis to make sure you are not going backwards. 

The TWU took this action in the IRC to protect small businesses in the transport industry operated by owner-drivers. 

It is you as transport workers who are copping the costs of getting the job done. We know that contracts are generally not changing to meet higher fuel costs.

This action contributes to the security and wellbeing of your future. In light of past performance, the TWU is not surprised that the varying levels of government and the fuel industry provided inadequate responses to the needs of your business. 

We know the pain, because our members are telling us that the sharp, unprecedented rise in diesel fuel costs has seen owner-drivers in the transport industry face a living financial hell. 

It has added to the financial pain caused by other costs that are always on the increase including Transurban toll road costs, insurance costs, maintenance costs and more.

When the federal government reduced the fuel excise they neglected to mention that in the recent federal budget they had hidden the removal of the fuel tax credit scheme. 

This means that the fuel excise reduction results in an almost zero benefit to any owner-drivers trying to recover their fuel costs. It’s highway robbery for owner-drivers and transport operators. 

Effectively, this government sat on its hands and provided no relief to your small business. Ongoing proof that the current federal government is continuing to ignore the problems in our industry. 

The TWU had in the past written to the Prime Minister demanding that in the absence of a tribunal to support cost recovery, the federal government must provide targeted support which puts money directly into the pockets of truck owner drivers on razor-thin margins.

No response from the Prime Minister, and we still have had no action on the recommendations endorsed by workers and the industry that were made as a result of the widely supported Senator Sterle parliamentary inquiry into the transport industry. 

Scott Morrison and his transport minister Barnaby Joyce have had a chance to do something worthwhile for owner drivers and transport operators. Instead, they have failed miserably again to act decisively to provide relief for the social, economic and contracting pressures which make transport Australia’s deadliest industry.

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