Speaking out to protect owner/drivers

WITH a new year comes new challenges and the TWU is already in the driver's seat ready to rev up its campaign to protect Chapter Six in New South Wales.

In the last few weeks of 2011 owner/driver Ray Childs, our legal officer Oshie Fagir and I gave evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into a review of the tribunal system in NSW.

This inquiry raised a few eyebrows at our end as the review advocates the development of a super tribunal system, where many NSW tribunals would be merged with others or some removed altogether.

This would put the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC), a tribunal many owner/drivers use to deal with all sorts of industrial disputes when they arise, at risk.

Our main concern, and the reason we stepped up and gave evidence to the inquiry last year, is that we understand the implications that such a proposal could have for more than 10,000 owner/drivers in NSW.

Any change to the structure of the IRC would potentially water down powers to access Chapter Six and therefore the ability for owner/drivers to deal with industrial disputes in a fair manner.

Chapter Six is unlike any other legislation that deals with owner/drivers in Australia and provides owner/drivers in NSW with various legal protections such as:

An avenue to resolve industrial disputes through the IRC. Without Chapter Six owner/drivers would have to accept any decision made by management or sit through a lengthy and costly court proceeding;

Minimum terms and conditions are provided within a contract;

Access to use the IRC in cases of unfair termination of contract; and

The ability to deal with disputes about the recovery of goodwill.

While many of us may not give a second thought to these protections, if they were somewhat limited this would have a detrimental effect on the rights and conditions of those who own their truck and rely on them for their families' income.

That's why the TWU took a stand, to make our voice and the voices of our members heard at the inquiry last year.

The TWU will do what it can to ensure that the powers of Chapter Six are preserved and always available to owner/drivers in their entirety.

In this special edition of Big Rigs I want to pay tribute to the truck drivers who last year delivered essential supplies to those affected in flood-ridden areas.

I am always amazed by the way that our community comes together during times of crisis to support each other, and the assistance provided by the transport industry during this time should never be forgotten.

If you would like to find out more about how Chapter Six affects you feel free to call our membership service on 02 9912 0700.

"TWU took

a stand to make the voices of members heard"

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