Update briefing on Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

Transport operators were given an update on the progress of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) at a seminar in Sydney this week that was organised by the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking association (ATA). The seminar was conducted by key people from the Australian Industry Group (Ai), which has been representing ATA members at Tribunal hearings.

Brent Ferguson is a workplace relations advocate with Ai and told the seminar that the Tribunal was yet to make any orders as the Full Bench hearing had been adjourned until late October. Ferguson explained that a key issue is the need to avoid overlap with existing legislation including the Heavy Vehicle National Law, various workplace health and safety regulations as well as the Fair Work Act.

Ferguson went on to outline such issues as the requirement for written contracts that provide for identifying the nature of the service, any guaranteed hours or income as well as specific mechanisms for termination.  Employee wage rates will continue to be largely left to the various Awards although the hirer must pay a “reasonable amount” for any work carried out. Other matters addressed included safe driving plans, mandatory training, drug and alcohol policies and even whistleblower protection.

The second presenter at the seminar was Shaun Kelleher who is a Newcastle based senior adviser on workplace relations with Ai who spoke of the Fair Work Commission becoming responsible for dealing with workplace bullying claims after January 1, 2014 and of the need to differentiate between bullying and behaviours that are just part of life.

The Fair Work Commission provides guidelines on the definitions of various forms of workplace bullying and Kelleher suggested that transport companies get onto the front foot by having the correct policies in place and by managing any claims in the correct manner.

The new Coalition Government has pledged to review the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal but in the meantime transport companies are urged to take an active interest in its operations.

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