NT drivers to be paid correctly

An overpayment in wages has been identified and corrected with the transfer of Darwin Bus Service

Employment conditions for staff who have transferred from the former Darwin Bus Service to new provider Territory Transit will be paid the correct wages following previously unidentified overpayments.

Territory Transit commenced as the new operator for the public transport system in October replacing the government run Darwin Bus Service.

As part of transfer of business requirements, the Fair Work Act requires that the employment conditions of the first employer transfer across to the second employer.

As part of the transfer of business, Territory Transit has uncovered an overpayment of wages and recreation leave to workers has occurred.

Transit Systems Chief Executive Officer Clint Feuerherdt says Territory Transit is paying in accordance with the NTPS Enterprise Agreement (Northern Territory Public Sector).

This agreement was provided during the tender process as the basis for the calculation of wages.

"After being appointed the successful contractor and during the transition period, it was identified that Darwin Bus Service (DBS) were paying the drivers differently to the agreement and that drivers were receiving additional benefits that were not provided for in the existing agreement," he says.

"We believe the new arrangement will deliver more beneficial outcomes for our drivers, with the opportunity to create a driver specific agreement that is designed around driving buses, rather than the previous agreement that covered all types of NTG employees.

"We thank our team in Darwin for their commitment and continued hard work during the transition phase and now, while we accelerate a process to negotiate a new agreement."

Northern Territory Minister for Transport Peter Styles says the overpayments have been made in error, as drivers were incorrectly paid for meal breaks.

The paid meal breaks then effectively created additional Rostered Days Off (RDO’s), which were also paid outside of the Enterprise Agreement. 

The RDO's collectively gave drivers an additional 12 days of paid leave a year in addition to their entitlement of six weeks annual leave.

After reviewing the NTPS Enterprise Agreement, Territory Transit has identified variations between what staff have been paid compared with what they were entitled to receive.

Styles says is not appropriate to use tax payers’ money to pay people more than what they are entitled to.

 "These variations have been to the benefit of employees, who have been paid above the entitlements specified in the NTPS Enterprise Agreement," he says.

"It appears the overpayment practice has been in place for some years and that many drivers were unaware that they were being paid above the rates set in the Enterprise Agreement."

Styles says many staff were unaware they were benefitting from errors in the application and processing of employment provisions.

"Because of this, the government will not pursue employees for this overpaid money," he says.

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