Transport companies sign up for training and reporting plan after breaching drivers’ rights

3 March 2011

Port Adelaide-based transport companies Ascot Haulage and Northern Territory Freight Services have entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The companies operate in South Australia and the NT transporting bulk liquid products such as milk, crude oil and water and other general goods.

The agreement follows an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman which found the companies had breached the workplace rights of its drivers working at Moomba, in the Cooper Basin.

The companies have admitted they:

  • Failed to give all Moomba drivers ready access to a final version of a collective agreement seven days before it was voted on,
  • Did not provide drivers with reasonable opportunity to approve the agreement before it was lodged, and
  • Cashed out half of the drivers’ annual leave instead of crediting the entitlements.

The Enforceable Undertaking - now used by the Fair Work Ombudsman as an alternative to litigation - gives Ascot Haulage and NT Freight Services 60 days to back-pay 26 drivers a total of $20,000 in outstanding entitlements.

The amounts owed range from $39.40 to $2287.44.

In a letter of apology to employees, the companies have expressed their “sincere regret” for the breach of workplace law and issued staff with a “commitment that the wrongful conduct will not occur again”.

As part of the agreement with the Fair Work Ombudsman, Ascot Haulage and NT Freight Services must ensure their human resources and general managers attend accredited training on the minimum entitlements for employees and agreement-making.

They must also provide a written report within six months identifying the steps they have taken to ensure their ongoing compliance with annual leave provisions of the Fair Work Act.

And if the companies introduce another collective agreement within the next three years, it must be provided to the Fair Work Ombudsman to demonstrate compliance with national workplace law.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has a number of tools on its website - www.fairwork.gov.au - to assist employees and employers.

Online resources include payslip and record-keeping templates, a self-audit checklist and fact sheets.

The ‘Industries’ section on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website provides information specifically tailored for employers and workers in the retail, cleaning, clerical, hair and beauty, security, horticulture, fast food and hospitality industries.

Small to medium-sized businesses without human resources staff can also ensure they are better equipped when hiring, managing and dismissing employees by using free template employment documentation with step-by-step instructions or accessing a series of Best Practice Guides.

Employers or employees seeking assistance or further information can also contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 from 8am-6pm weekdays. A free interpreter service is also available on 13 14 50.

Media inquiries:

Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(03) 9954 2561, 0411 430 902
ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au

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