Securing the future for drivers

2022 has just about passed under the wheels, and there is plenty to look forward to for the New Year. To all of those who took up the fight this past year, congratulations. The transport industry has come together and is firmly heading down the road towards a safer and fairer future for all transport workers.

We can celebrate the achievement of a major win following the announcement from the federal government of their plan to empower the Fair Work Commission to set fair standards for the entire transport industry. 

It is a major triumph for the TWU members who took part in lobbying, national convoys and an industry supported roundtable. 

The setting of minimum standards for all workers will allow a level playing field, that makes sure companies at the top of the supply chain pay their fair share, and allow drivers a seat at the decision-making table. 

In 2022, members made their voices heard, from the national convoys to members lobbying in Parliament House or in their yards; we are closer than ever to real, lifesaving reform for all road transport workers. 

We have contributed to the relief valve on the financial pressure faced by drivers through our win in the courts with a fuel levy added to the General Carriers Contract Determination. Change is still needed for the industry regarding the financial pressure operators face. 

There is genuine fear in small business transport companies as to how their future looks. The industry is struggling to survive. 

The TWU will continue to provide a powerful voice on behalf of our owner-driver members because for them the madness continues around the financial chokehold caused by ever increasing on road-operating costs.

The NSW Government and Transurban are ripping off drivers every day, contributing to the near impossible task of sustainably running a business. 

Toll roads are currently government-sanctioned highway robbery. 

Under the agreement with the current NSW government, Transurban price increases on our toll roads have become just as much a part of Sydney’s New Year’s ritual as the fireworks on the Harbour Bridge. 

It is a form of financial oppression and an indication of the scant regard held for heavy vehicle operators. The NSW Premier and Roads Minister could fix this, but they have said very little about how they are planning to do so. 

As 2023 rolls in, the TWU will continue to take the issues to those in power for all transport workers. We cannot let them forget the vital nature of transport and the workers in our industry. 

Have you considered how you can be part of the fight for our industry’s future? Involve yourself and those in your yard, help us to maintain the campaigns we have started and build the ones yet to start. We need everyone on board to continue the fight for a safer and fairer industry. 

The TWU is looking forward to 2023 as a year to continue the fight for change that sees every driver get home safely, properly remunerated and in the end, this will lead to industry change for the better. 

  • Richard Olsen is TWU NSW/QLD State Secretary

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