HUGE BREAKING NEWS: The TWU (VIC/TAS Branch) has fought long and hard for better rates and conditions for owner drivers and we are proud to announce that the Andrews Government has promised to introduce compliance and enforcement mechanisms to protect owner drivers and forestry contractors from predatory employers. ???
The proposed legislative changes to the Owner Driver and Forestry Contractors Act are important steps forward in ensuring thousands of owner drivers would no longer be vulnerable to exploitation or forced into unsafe practices by economic pressures down supply chains.
TWU (VIC/TAS Branch) Secretary and TWU National Vice-President John Berger said the changes would take important steps to separate employers wanting to do the right thing from those who are simply out to make as much profit as possible by exploiting hard-working truck drivers.
“They would be like a pressure valve releasing for owner drivers,” John said.
– Under the proposed changes there will be enforcement and compliance mechanisms policed by a $22 million fully-funded Victorian Wage Inspectorate.
– Amendments to the joint negotiation provisions of the Act to allow contractors to be offered a regulated contract on the terms and conditions of an existing joint agreement. This means any site agreement must be offered to new owner drivers, rather than a new contract for a new owner driver undercutting existing conditions.
– Penalties for non-compliance and failing to provide rate and cost schedules and written contracts.
– Payments will have to be made no later than 30 days of an invoice being received.
– There will be a new low cost, binding dispute resolution process at the Small Business Commission who will now have the ability to arbitrate on matters such as termination of contract. The new system will be more accessible for owner drivers and the union.
– The Act will also be expanded to cover gig economy workers, such as Uber Freight.
We congratulate this Government for not only being the first to recognise the issues in the industry – but also doing something about it with the proposed changed.
We also look forward to discussing these important reforms further with other political parties to seek support. And we thank all those members who have stood strong and staunch over the years to help make this happen. Stronger together! ?
JULY 4, 2018