‘Just go use the bushes’: truckies treated like ‘second-class citizens’

second class

Road Freight NSW CEO Simon O’Hara has sent a stinging rebuke to freight customers who aren’t giving his members’ drivers the respect they deserve.

In a sternly worded association newsletter today, O’Hara said he was disturbed to hear reports of truckies in the busy Wetherill Park freight hub in Sydney being treated like second-class citizens.

One operator, whose company has close to 100 years of operation, reported this week that his drivers were being denied use of the bathroom facilities at their delivery points around Sydney.

“One driver was told, ‘sorry, just go and use the bushes’, and this is a food handling facility!” the operator writes.

“The other suggestion was to drop the trailer and go around the block with their semi and use the facilities at the servo.”

The operator said this was far from an isolated case.

“I would think that now we have increasing numbers of vaccinated employees (we are now 100 per cent vaccinated) with regular testing by many of them, that some flexibility would be the approach to take now.

“If truckies are double-vaccinated, as they were in this case, why can’t they use your toilet?”

O’Hara said Road Freight NSW’s policy council is meeting soon to discuss this issue and the measures that the NSW freight industry can put in place with customers who aren’t showing drivers respect.

“The basic needs of some drivers aren’t being met by some customers and we question these decisions of ‘management’ that infringe on basic human rights,” O’Hara said.

“I wouldn’t tolerate it, you wouldn’t tolerate, so why should our drivers tolerate it when they keep stumping up to work and doing the hard yards while ‘management’ make decisions from their homes about whether a driver can use a toilet.

“Our industry has heeded the call to get vaccinated, got tested regularly, worked long tiresome hours, waited in queues at DCs for hours and days, and complied with government directives so that they can do the job done for the community.

“If the NSW freight industry can keep you in business, and double vaccination isn’t enough for you, then pay the $25.00 per week for a port-a-loo, and show some basic decency to an industry that has kept the community fed, watered, in vaccines, in medical supplies and ensured that our water in our taps is drinkable.”

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