Archive for March, 2012

RATES REVIEW

Much has been happening in the past few weeks. For those who don’t know, the rates are being revised ready for term 2. This was one of the recommendations made by Ken Boston in his report on the 1st term “debacle”. It’s a good read if you have time. The link to the full report can be found on our “Information” Page. Also, an operator has submitted his own interpretation of this report which can be found on our “Articles” Page.

It’s a shame this information was not previously given to operators. Many are still unaware that this review is taking place, and unless you had read the 22 page report there was no way to know of this particular recommendation. The knowledge of a potential rate rise may have given hope to those operators who had no choice but to “throw in the towel” and cease working for the ASTU. I can certainly understand their desperation and if it weren’t for knowing about this review myself, then I would have done the same.

The good news.  The Rates Review was put in the capable hands of Mr Chris Raper who certainly did his ‘due diligence’ before preparing his proposal. Mr Raper spoke to many operators and people from the transport industry to assess the necessary costs involved with the day to day transportation of students. He then employed PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) to work the figures and design models of suitable pay structures. These were then presented to various Focus Groups consisting of randomly selected operators. They were shown the proposal and asked to give feedback. A few members from this site were amongst them and have given us the ‘goss’ on the whole thing. You will find the report on the Review of Rates in our “Articles” section.

The bad news. This new rates proposal is still to be considered in the coming weeks by the government. The same government that gave us this new schedule or rates I presume. Still, with more accurate figures now presented to them, there may be a “glimmer of hope” of some “light at the end of the tunnel”. But I wouldn’t count on there being a “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”.

 

Cheers                                                                            Buttercup

 

“One way to make sure crime doesn’t pay would be to let the government run it.” – Ronald Reagan

PAY DAY

Oh yes, finally that day arrived. Of course my pay has all gone now, but it  did manage to hold off the bank, keep my phone active and put a bit of food on the table. Gone are the days I suppose, when a contractor presented an invoice for work done and actually got paid for the amount written on the statement. I decided, if that’s the way it is done these days then I might try the same. Both my Electrician and Plumber were not amused when, after 3 weeks, I paid them only three quarters of what they claimed on their invoices. I explained to them that I disagreed with the itemized time they said they had taken to perform the work. I also explained that another reduction for overheads was to be expected, because the necessary equipment needed for my particular job could have been suitably transported using a smaller vehicle, and not their large fitted out trucks they had arrived in. Needless to say, they weren’t happy. Me, what would I care – the job was done.

How many of you were paid correctly? I understand there has been an average of over 20 operators per day needing to email the department with pay complaints. Now of course some mistakes may be put down to the new system being used, and some could be put down to the data entry of newly employed staff, but 20 a day? As predicted, now the systems will be clogged trying to rectify them all.

I would say many, if not all of the ones complaining, are like myself, all having our vehicle categories now changing with the number of students. Who is “calling the shots” down there? Who, at this crucial time, when operators are teetering on handing back their runs would take the time to deliberately scrutinize the contract in such a way as to try and find any inkling of a ‘loophole’ so as to “claw” back money from the already underpaid operators? I mean, didn’t they raise the minimum rate to 30 Klms for this term so as to keep these runs going smoothly.

I must say it is getting harder and harder to talk in my blog and not sound bitter. Before I end, I will just mention that the the Site Team have done a great job with the new look “News” Page. They have also added 2 more pages for your contributions. One of those is “Operations Issues”, where you can submit the issues you would like to see addressed by the association. The other is “Articles”. This is the page where you can submit any articles you feel would be of interest to readers. They can either be written by yourself or taken from a magazine or website (in this case please reference author). They don’t need to be in the area of our job, just something you would like to share. Bye For Now.

 

Cheers                                                               Buttercup

 

“It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge” – Friedrich Nietzsche

End of February

Welcome, to the many new people who have registered on this site. Feel free to join in the forums and have your say. Also, to the many many viewers that are increasing daily, why not also become an active member and register. Your identity is strictly confidential.

The end of February already, and yes, for all those people like me who always leave things till the last minute, BAS time. Having an extra month for this BAS still does not alleviate the headache for me, adding and entering all those receipts, hoping all is correct before popping it in the mail box right at the last second. Then the dreaded Bpay necessary. Oh dear, not enough in the bank to cover it. Thoughts turn to that eagerly anticipated first pay since December. I think, “how long will it take this time, will it be my form that somehow always makes its way to the bottom of the pile, did I forget a date, did I sign it in the right spot, will it be sent back for correction”? Or the real biggie? Will my form end up in the monthly missing mail bag? Oh No! Not that! That means another four weeks before my pay can be processed. My heart sinks, I now realize I need to spend an hour trying to get through to a person at the ATO to get an extension.

Of course it’s all new this year, no one really knows what to expect. Did they get their system working by the 17th as stipulated in that report? Will their system accurately calculate kilometers this time? Will this ‘you beaut’ system allow us any distance to at least turn our cars around in the closet safest position, or will we be still expected to pick it up and do a 180? Will it still have our routes turning over medium strips or driving down one way streets or worse, non existent streets. I hope it is fixed. I hope the head honchos aren’t just sipping coffee while the already overworked office staff deal with it all. And does anyone ever get through on the phones??

Speaking of those claim forms. Wow! The drivers got writers cramp having to sign their name 46 times. And how are they using the klms to pay us, as one savvy member questioned?  Is it am and pm or daily? It does say on the sheet that it is the daily rate combined, so what is the point of writing am and pm? The total will still be the same.

Another rumbling at the moment is the change in categories. Maxi busses are now mini busses. Small wheel chairs are now sedans. Are people movers also now sedans if they are driving less than 5 children? I suppose the next couple of weeks will tell all. Then expect the system to be clogged while they attempt to rectify claims from all the aggregated operators. I can see another ‘debacle’ coming.

What a miserable driving experience we are having whether wise. So much rain (and so much mud in the car). How are all you people going in those flooded areas? With roads and bridges closed it must mean rather big detours are necessary for you. Good luck.

The Site team have added some links to various sites so check them out. There have also been some more stories added to “Your Page” and some interesting articles from site members are soon to be added as well. Happy reading.

 

Cheers                                                                    Buttercup

 

“As our case is new, we must think and act anew.” Abraham Lincoln