|Issue No 61||07 July 2000|
Owner Drivers Unite to Save Industry from GST
Long distance truck drivers are facing cuts of up to $180 for a single trip as the industry tries to come to grips with the new GST.
Like all other owner drivers across the country for the past 6 to 12 weeks NSW Owner drivers have been receiving letters from their companies and freight forwarders, demanding they accept a cut in their rates and informing them of what their earnings are going to be after the 1st of July and the introduction of the GST.
In some instance owner drivers have been told that their rates have to fall by as much as $180 for a trip to Melbourne from Sydney. And in almost all instances drivers have been told that the new rates are not negotiable and that they cannot and will not change because they are a result of the introduction of the GST and other changes to the tax system.
Regardless of their reasoning transport companies and freight forwarders cannot unilaterally determine a reduction in the rates of owner drivers because of the introduction of the GST and other changes to the tax system without being able to justify a change. If they do change the rates and are found to be profiting from the changes then they, just like any owner driver found in the same position, face the prospect of enormous fines and penalties imposed by the Government's GST watch dog, the ACCC.
In response to the companies actions for the last 4 weeks NSW Owner Drivers from all sectors of the industry and their families have been making it clear to transport companies and freight forwarders that they are playing with fire if they have the audacity to cut their contract rates. A number of stop work meetings, of both union and non-union, members have already been held and union and non-union owner drivers and their families are gearing up for industry wide industrial action if any rates are unilaterally changed come the 1st of July.
Any changes to rates must be made in consultation with the actual drivers affected, and has to take into account all the costs, fees and charges, including those as a result of the new tax system, that are involved in an owner driver keeping their truck on the road and maintaining their standard of living and quality of life.
In NSW we are confident that these conditions can be meet, provided all owner drivers regardless of whether they are union members or not stick together, and make it clear to the industry and the Government that they are not going to get away with cutting your rates without taking everything into account.
If you want to join to fight to save your rates, contact the TWU for a copy of the GST Protocol prepared by the TWU to ensure owner drivers rates are protected circulating the industry to companies and freight forwarders to commit to. For a copy of the termination call or further information call the TWU on 02) 9912 0700.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005