The Transport Workers' Union (TWU) and NatRoad have both welcomed the conditions around the introduction of part-time drivers.

The decision applies specifically to long-haul drivers

On February 28 this year, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) updated the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010 to include the provision of part-time drivers.

Industry lobby group NatRoad had introduced the provision to the FWC, but had their claim rejected. However, the FWC has now allowed the status of part-time drivers with the inclusion of protections around their pay and conditions.

The TWU has claimed those protections as a win in their running battle with NatRoad. In a statement, TWU national assistant secretary Michael Kaine said: "NatRoad were chancing their arms trying to bring in part-time work so they could pay drivers less."

"The Commission agreed with the TWU that this would leave drivers ‘vulnerable to abuse'. It backed our safeguards which will allow drivers transitioning to retirement to reduce their workload while ensuring that drivers working full-time hours get full-time pay and benefits."

The TWU argues that the conditions protect employers from reclassifying full-time drivers as, or replacing them with, part-time workers, in order to avoid paying benefits such as superannuation and leave.

According to the TWU, full-time drivers will retain their benefits, while part-time drivers will receive minimum rates similar to casual workers.

The award has been updated by the FWC to reflect the changes, whilst NatRoad and the TWU have also released their interpretations.