RIFT WIDENS: ATA chief executive Ben Maguire (left) and TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.
RIFT WIDENS: ATA chief executive Ben Maguire (left) and TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.

TWU owed us $22k: ATA

AFTER a rocky relationship in recent years, the Australian Trucking Association has officially shown the Transport Workers Union the door.

The ATA told Big Rigs the TWU was no longer a member because it had failed to pay $22,000 in 2018-19 membership fees.

That money has now been written off as a bad debt.

ATA chief executive Ben Maguire said the TWU was sent invoices at the end of 2017 and 2018 but neither were paid.

Financial records show the TWU had a total income of $4.9 million in 2018, with a net surplus of $46,277.

Mr Maguire said he and ATA chair Geoff Crouch met with the TWU several times during 2018 and discussed its outstanding membership fees, without result.

"Part of being a member of an association, whether it's a union, industry association or a social club, is paying your membership fees when they fall due,” MrMaguire said.

"The TWU chose not to pay their membership fees. We were disappointed by their choice but keeping the union on our member register would have been unfair to our other members. They pay their fees on time from vastly smaller resources than the TWU.

"The ATA constitution sets out routine procedures for removing members who do not pay their bills. Every well-run association has similar procedures, including the TWU itself.

"The ATA followed its procedures, the TWU is no longer a member. There is no debate or doubt about the TWU's membership status.”

In a written email statement to Big Rigs, the TWU offered no explanation as to why it hadn't paid the invoices other than to say it had concerns about the direction of the association.

"The TWU is assessing our ongoing position and is due to meet with the ATA shortly,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.

Mr Maguire said he was disappointed the TWU chose not to continue as a member, because the ATA had such a strong safety agenda and record of achievement.

"Last year, for example, we secured strong safety duties in the Heavy Vehicle National Law, despite the TWU's lack of interest,” he said.

"We won an extra $100million in the last Federal Budget for truck rest areas and productivity projects.

"And as a result of the ATA's work, electronic braking is now being rolled out as a requirement for many new trucks and trailers. We have strongly supported the introduction of mandatory autonomous emergency braking as well.

"During 2019 we lodged detailed, evidence-based submissions to the Heavy Vehicle National Law review, based on extensive consultation with our member associations and companies. We also worked with Big Rigs to hear the views of drivers and pass them on to the NTC.

"The joint campaign reached more than 144,000 people. It's a striking example of how the ATA is representing our industry and getting results.”

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