Monday, December 15, 2008


A third of truckies, drivers underpaid

December 14, 2008 08:12pm

A FEDERAL Workplace Ombudsman audit of transport companies has found nearly a third have underpaid drivers and other workers.

The audit, which reviewed the books of 362 employers, identified 114 companies which had underpaid 120 truckies, bus drivers and other workers a total of $135,000.

They either used the wrong pay scale or underpaid them for weekend, overtime or public holiday work.

Ombudsman executive director Michael Campbell said inspectors expected the numbers to rise, with 100 audits still to be finalised.

Nearly $100,000 of the underpayments occurred in the short-distance freight industry in Queensland, he said.

Some 66 per cent of passenger transport businesses in Victoria were found to be non-compliant and so were 45 per cent of long-distance freight companies in regional NSW. In Queensland, 20 per cent of companies had underpaid workers, with 58 employers still to be audited.

"The road transport industry has a significant number of vulnerable workers including trainees and apprentices and this campaign will help ensure they receive their proper entitlements,'' said Mr Campbell.

Most breaches were inadvertent and were being rectified voluntarily by the companies, he said.

The Federal Workplace Ombudsman wrote to more than 9,000 transport industry businesses earlier this year to inform them of the audit campaign.