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Traffic control members from AWU Victoria have had a massive win with years of backpay coming their way.

March 10, 2022

Casual TC’s who have worked tirelessly on various projects around Victoria have had a win with several years to be back paid for overtime hours worked. The TC’s are supposed to be employed for a 38-hour week but it has been found that they were working above the 38-hour ‘ordinary’ working hours and being paid at normal time. The hours that were paid at normal rates instead of overtime rates gave rise to the underpayment and the amounts owing will be back paid.

This win shows the importance of checking payslips and querying anything that you think is not adding up. Without a member coming to an AWU organiser this issue could have gone unseen for longer than it already has. An employee queried their matter with STA payroll and no action was taken after two attempts to rectify the issue. The TC’s AWU organiser then got involved to officially make enquiries about the pay discrepancy.

Instead of the usual entitlements that full and part-time employees receive, casual workers are entitled to receive a higher rate of pay. This is sometimes referred to as ‘casual loading’ and is supposed to ‘make up’ for casual workers not having benefits such as holiday entitlements and sick leave. However, the benefits for casuals in this way is dependent on being paid appropriately for the work they do.

A dispute with STA was raised in December 2021 and during the conciliation conference they acknowledged the payment discrepancy and agreed to back pay the workers. This is not only a huge win for AWU members who work for STA, but also a win for all traffic controllers in Victoria. With over 200 ‘000 TC’s on the books in Victoria it is understood that there will be more cases like this where casuals are losing out on being paid for the overtime they are working.

The traffic industry is competitive, and the regulations are there to protect workers, however it is still a dangerous, difficult, and tough job that requires more government intervention for protecting the safety of traffic controllers.

Most TC’s are casuals or labour hire employees for subcontractors. This makes it a very competitive industry to get daily work on jobs and any form of job stability. Having a voice and questioning safety, pay, or onsite bullying can ostracise workers, it is alleged that at times this can lead to no work at all. That is why a win of backpay is so vital, every cent counts when your workplace is relatively unknown and you’re putting your life on the line each time you go to work.

With several traffic controllers being struck by vehicles as well as two fatalities in Victoria alone, AWU organisers joined in a traffic reform round table that includes several traffic authorities and safety regulators. Victorian transport minister Ben Carroll, and minister for workplace safety Ingrid Stitt are also part of the roundtable created in response to the safety, regulations, and solutions to the traffic management industry.

AWU traffic organiser Jade Campbell says that “wins like this really help change an industry that is rife with unfair working conditions.” Ms Campbell has had extensive experience working in the industry prior to joining the AWU and says, “this cannot continue, companies need to be held accountable for under resourcing, fatigue management as well as maintain not only the safety of the employees but also the general public, they need to work with us to make it a better industry.”

Quotes attributable to AWU Victorian Branch Secretary, Ben Davis

“Casual traffic controllers can now celebrate the fact that they are going to be treated and paid as they should have been all along. Paid overtime rates for all overtime hours.”

It is yet another example of the AWU making a real difference to the working lives of our members.”

Quotes attributable to AWU Victorian Traffic Organiser Jade Campbell

“Wins like this really help change an industry that is rife with unfair working conditions.”

“This cannot continue, companies need to be held accountable for under resourcing, fatigue management as well as maintain not only the safety of the employees but also the general public, they need to work with us to make it a better industry.”

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