TWU NSW Acting Secretary Richard Olsen has welcomed the decision by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to extend coverage of the General Carriers Contract Determination, saying that it was good news for Owner Drivers across NSW.
The extension of General Carriers Contract Determination* (GCCD) was handed down by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on 29 April, after more than two years of conciliated negotiations between industry representatives and the Transport Workers Union NSW, and became law on July 2.
“The GCCD has been in existence since 1984 for the Sydney metro region and local work across the State – this is simply an extension to cover Owner Drivers and work conducted across NSW,” Mr Olsen said.
“The GCCD has ensured thousands of mum and dad Owner Drivers have what amounts to an award underpinning their work, which ensures for cost recovery, stability and promotes safe systems at work. They also have access to the NSW IRC when they have disputes with their principal contractors.
“In the new decision we have also secured some important additional protections* for Owner Drivers, including: an obligation on principal contractors to pay for painting of vehicles; consultation over changes to fleets; and transparent, reasonable and lawful allocation of work.
“No decision has yet been made by the IRC on the extension of a rates schedule across NSW.
Mr Olsen said that Owner Drivers would quickly see the benefits of being covered by the contract determination.
“This is about extending rights to all Owner Drivers across the State and will bring stability and security to their business and their work.
“We are calling on the New South Wales Government to launch a thorough information and consultation period with Owner Drivers so they are aware of the changes and how they will benefit their businesses,” Mr Olsen said.
Thirty year Owner Driver Tony Matthews said that the Determination has allowed him to secure fair rates and a good deal from the big business principal contractors.
“I’m one of thousands of Owner Drivers here in Sydney that relies on the Contract Determination every day to underpin my rates. This means that like an employee driver, there is a floor on the amount I can earn, which allows me to do my job, maintain my truck and still support my family without driving every hour of the day,” Mr Matthews said.
Owner Driver Ray Childs said that the concrete industry had been covered by a separate contract determination since the 1970s and it had only been good news for small businessmen like him.
“Many Owner Drivers have hundreds of thousands of dollars locked up in trucks and goodwill that are underpinned by the concrete determination – without a determination and Chapter Six laws we’d be all be left high and dry,” Mr Childs said.