On Tuesday 22 May, truck drivers who sub-contract to the bulk car carrying industry protested outside the premises of CEVA car carriers at the corner of Culverston and Airds Road at Minto.

100 drivers have voted to commit to industrial action stopping the transport of new motor vehicles to dealers.

Carr carriers dispute

TWU members protest outside the premises of CEVA car carriers

Richard Olsen, State Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union of NSW said, “New managers, sitting at their desks are seeking to dictate to drivers what they should be paid, despite families losing out because rates of pay are not covering the costs of doing the job. Drivers warned the companies that labour would be withdrawn if this situation continued.”

“Drivers want to have all involved, come back to the table and negotiate in good faith a deal that gets the drivers much closer to covering their costs.”

“Members have been warning the Australian Industry Group (AIG) and car carrying companies about this issue for some time.”

“Car carrier contract drivers have market pressure from below that they cannot negotiate with. They cannot negotiate the price of fuel with their vendor; they cannot negotiate the price of insurance and registration; they cannot negotiate with their mortgage provider yet the companies expect them to do their job for less. Companies are not looking to properly compensate drivers for costs incurred,” Richard Olsen said.

The History:
Owner Drivers who sub-contract for the car carrying industry, working for both the NSW dealer network and car manufacturers have been for many years negotiating on a good faith basis with the companies they contract too on rates based on a document called the NSW Car Carriers Contract Determination. (http://www.industrialrelations.nsw.gov.au/biz_res/oirwww/pdfs/Awards/Award_0183.pdf)

This industry determination has provision for the negotiation of rates going up, or down based on a range of market forces. The Australian Industry Group (representing car carrying companies), and the members of the Transport Workers’ Union have been agreeing on rates through the negotiation of a mutual position of consent.

Timeline and details of dispute:

  • 2015, agreement on rates dropped due to a lowering of fuel prices.
  • 2016, negotiations, drivers agreed not to apply for a variation for an increase to rates to be fair to the industry.
  • Early 2017 Drivers chose again to provide a level of fairness to companies by maintaining rates.
  • Things changed though in 2017. There are a number of localised agreements in place to take into account operational costs related to individual, localised circumstances. Some of these local agreements have been in place for ten years.
  • Companies started to crackdown on local agreements and reduce pay and conditions for sub-contractor drivers.
  • Since that time, cost recovery, collecting the costs of doing the job for Car Carrying companies has become harder to achieve.
  • The TWU has been told drivers are being forced to dip into personal savings to bolster their businesses. One Driver has been forced to move over $20,000 of personal savings to his business to ensure he could stay on the road.
  • 2018, TWU delegates and members put in a dispute resolution notice through the NSW Industrial Relations Commission informing the companies that there was unrest in the industry over the crackdowns and reductions which are seen to be against the good will previously shown in negotiated agreements.
  • 2018, TWU Members have presented the AIG a proposal for a rate variation that would move the industry rate up by 3.4 percent due to an increase in costs, that includes fuel and insurance. Fuel prices are increased for example by about 10 percent.
  • The companies have offered only 2 percent and have said unequivocally that they cannot move any further than that.
  • That offer means that drivers will not be able to meet the costs of doing business for car carrying companies – so are taking action to ensure their livelihoods and families incomes are protected – drivers are willing to talk.

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Transport Workers' Union NSW