Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More Connor Conspiracies

More Connor Conspiracies

Faruque Ahmed
Mobile - 0418 227 551

CC Connor

6 June 1997
Matter No: IRC 2383/95

On the 24 April 1996, the Transport Workers Union by agreeing to higher pay-ins (rental charge to bailees), without consulting it's own membership, compromised bailee taxi drivers interests before your Industrial Commission. In reality, the overwhelming majority of the TWU taxi driver members, as well as non-member taxi drivers, were opposed to the TWU’s unacceptable a priori "arrangement" with the taxi owners (Taxi Industry Association). It should also be pointed out that this was in contravention of s275 of the Industrial Relation Act I991 (s105 under the new legislation).

Further, this TWU,/TIA "arrangement" on 24 April 1996 attempted to backdate and legitimate a seven (7) year continuum (1990-96) of illegal overcharging of bailee drivers by taxi owners !In entering into this April 96 "arrangement" there is no evidence that the TWU even considered its detrimental impact on either the income levels or the working conditions of bailee drivers prior to reaching consensus with the TIA in front of the commission on this date.

On a separate issue, on the 6 September 1996, the TWU again compromised bailee taxi drivers interests by agreeing before you to allow the TIA to increase flagfalls by $1.O0 (from $2 to $3). Concomitantly, bailee pay-ins were increased by $40.00 a day over day/night shifts to the detriment of the bailee drivers and the general public (as shown by the consumer resistance to the fare hike). It should have been imperative for the TWU in this instance to take cognizance of the executive summary of the Keatsdale Report (page viii) in regard to the financing of driver safety which stated, "safety measures were unlikely to increase the flagfall by more than one cent".

Given the wide discrepancy between the Keatsdale recommendation{$0.01 ) and the DoT accepted formula ($1.00), as a minimum, the TWU should have insisted on a full cost-benefit analysis from the TIA. Many people believe the $1.00 flagfall has resulted in a net windfall to taxi owners amounting to tens of millions dollars as indicated by the rapid increase of already over-inflated plate values totally divorced from any "market forces", The delays in implementing the safety reforms to the industry have compounded both the driver and general public disquiet over this TWU/TIA arrangement regarding the new flagfall.

As a result of general rumblings in the industry, a properly constituted meeting of the TWU Taxi Drivers' Section was held in Quinn House, Parramatta on 27 November 1996. The central issue under discussion was the proposed TWU submission for a new Determination in 1997. The meeting decided unanimously that "all membership and delegates agree (that) no fixed pay-ins to be included in the next Contract Determination, only percentile of the chargeable fare {are) to be allowed".

At subsequent TWU,/TDS meetings held in the first half of 1997, this policy concerning bailee/bailor payments was re-endorsed without any opposition from the full time union officials. But, in total contradiction of this democratically reached decision, it now appears a TWU Organiser has,/is intending to submit an Interim variation of the Determination before the IRC which is contrary to the members' wishes. In it's current form the draft TWU contract Determination maintains the existing inadequacies in the bailee/bailor relationship, and, if adopted, will further remove the rights of bailees to negotiate with bailors on an equal footing.

In conclusion, I have to read out this statement to you Commissioner, because our next stop will be a Royal Commission into the taxi industry. we will be endeavoring to find out why:

1. The TWU leadership is so eager to compromise it's own members' interests by entering agreements with the TIA without consulting the rank and file ?

2. The TWU leadership refuses to take any effective action to protect it's taxi driver members' interest in regards to safety and remuneration?

3. Today (6.6.97), the TWU are further compromising their members' welfare despite their memberships' total opposition to the proposed Interim Determination - one which reinforces the unjust pay-in methods?

Concerning the broader issues, we ask:

4. Who formulates the TWU policy on the Taxi Industry? Is it it's membership or is it some unknown choreographers?

5. Why the Commission to date has failed to understand the disparity between the TWU leadership and it's membership?

Faruque Ahmed, President, Taxi Drivers' Section of the TWU

Addendum (20.6.1997):

- This statement could not be read out on 6 June 1997 as the IRC hearing stood-ever the matter and commenced proceedings 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time of hearing (9.3O a.m.) in the absence of interested parties such as myself and others,

- Enclosed is my submission to you on 6.9.1996.