AIRC announces new single transport award

By: Jason Whittaker

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) has released its new modern award for the bus and coach sector. The new Passenger

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) has released its new modern award for the bus and coach sector.

The new Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award (PVTA) will come into effect on January 1, 2010, and will be the subject of review during 2012 and again in 2014.

All transport workers – including both private and public sector passenger vehicle transport workers, including motor vehicles (for hire carrying less than eight persons), limousines or hire cars, and workers on buses and coaches, electric tramways, monorails and light rail – will be covered under the new award.

Under the PVTA an employer and employee will be able to agree to vary individual terms relating to rostering, overtime rates, penalty rates, allowances and leave loadings – provided it is in writing and places the employee in an overall better off position.

Where overtime rates apply, rates are time and half for the first three hours and double time thereafter. The ordinary rate for Saturday is time and half while the ordinary hours for Sunday are double time.

Employees who work before 6am and after 7pm are entitled to a 15 percent loading, provided that the ordinary rate or overtime rate is not higher.

The Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) Industrial Working Group has welcomed the new award.

BusNSW Executive Assistant Ian MacDonald says the AIRC’s new Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award (PVTA), released Friday, September 4, represents a "balanced document".

"On balance, we’re pretty happy," MacDonald says. "We didn’t get it all our own way but our initial review of it is it’s a pretty balanced document that we can all live with."

In May the BIC Industrial Working Group argued against the single award in its submission to the AIRC, saying separate awards were necessary to reflect the significant differences between public and private sector operators.

"The award still contained the public and private sector and it still contained the electric tramways, light rail, monorail, buses and coaches," MacDonald says. "These are all things that we can live with.

"It contained the 15 percent [loading] from 6am to 7pm which was slightly narrower than the one we wanted – which was from 10pm at night rather than 7pm. So there will be a 15 percent loading provided on the ordinary rate. I think we can also live with that as well.

"The general consensus would be that the rates of pay have taken into account the variances between the two larger states of New South Wales and Victoria, where they pay higher rates to South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland, where they pay rates commensurate with the grades that have been put into the award."

The AIRC adopted a number of the technical suggestions made by the BIC Industrial Working Group, allowing a minimum two-hour engagement for dedicated school services.

"That was a significant change from the draft that they accepted, which will protect all of our school operators and our country areas in the different states," MacDonald says.

It also accepted changes to the definitions of vehicle grades.

"They allowed for the carrying capacity of the bus – in other words the size of the bus – to be the relevant factor for the determination of the grades rather than the number of people on the bus," MacDonald says.

"It’s a balanced document because they’ve extended the definition of a shift worker to being a person who’s rostered on Sundays and public holidays and for a business that works seven days a week, which is a bit of an extension form the current definition of a shift worker.

"I’d have to say from the point of view of private transport that we don’t agree with most of the comments that have been echoed about winners and losers.

"We think it’s a well-balanced document that will serve the industry well. It gives enough flexibility for the different states to negotiate their enterprise agreements with their employees."

Minimum Wages Rates
  • Grade 1: $589.00 ($15.50 per hour, $19.35 casual)
  • Grade 2: $603.90 ( $15.89 per hour, $1986 casual)
  • Grade 3: $640.00 ($16.84 per hour, casual $21.05)
  • Grade 4: $663.10 ($17.45 per hour, casual $21.81)
  • Grade 5: $701.36 ($18.45 per hour, casual $23.06)
  • Grade 6: $733.24 ($19.29 per hour, casual $19.29

  • Grade 1 – includes employees not involved in driving passengers but refuellers, attendants, washers tyre changers, supervisors and coach attendants.
  • Grade 2 - includes drivers of vehicles with carrying capacity of less than 25 school children, bus conductors, a driver of limousines or hire cars carrying less than eight persons.
  • Grade 3 – includes drivers who drive vehicles with a carrying capacity of 25 or more school children or who carry route service passengers in a bus with a carrying capacity of less than 25 or a coach drivers on day charters and who travel less than 650 kms.
  • Grade 4 – includes drivers who drive route services in vehicles with a carrying capacity of 25 or more and coach drivers who drive vehicles with a carrying capacity of 25 or more and who travel a return distances of 650 kms or more.
  • Grade 5 – includes drivers with higher skills than grade 4 and who have sound operational knowledge including instructors of new drivers.
  • Grade 6 – includes supervisors and trainers who are customer focussed and provide operational support to special events.

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