A former truckie has shared why he has decided to walk away from the transport industry, describing it as “all but slave labour”.
The driver, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of online harassment and retribution from his previous employer, completed his last run just days ago.
“I’ve had enough,” he told Big Rigs.
“I love the transport industry, but the money is just not there.
“You’re risking your life and other people’s lives every day.
“With the hours you have to work and the constant threat of being fined – I’m fried. I’m done.”
The truckie, who is from Victoria and in his late 50s, said that before he quit, he was on the road so often that it was impossible to maintain any kind of work/life balance.
“I’ve got a BFM logbook but I was running it to the max, working 90 hours a week,” he said.
“I would leave home Sunday, go to Melbourne Tuesday night, unload, go back to Brisbane, then back to Melbourne, and do it all again as soon as my logbook checker gave me the green light.”
He said that whenever he got a 24-hour break, all that time was taken up by sleeping and trying to catch up on chores.
“You’ve got to sleep but you’ve also got to do your washing, you’ve got to do everything around the house.
“I have a farm as well so I had so much to do in that time. I was exhausted.
“Where is the family time in all that? When do you get to see friends?”
He thinks truck drivers are “extremely poorly paid” for the amount of work they do, and that companies should look at whether they are compensating their drivers fairly.
“I took home $2800 a week at most, and that might sound OK but that was me working crazy hours.
“It’s all but slave labour as far as I’m concerned.”
He said dealing with the NHVR was another issue that caused him a lot of stress.
“I’ve never been fined because I run the logbook checker, but when you’re pushing your logbook to the max you’re always worried you’re going to get pulled up on something.
“But you have to push those boundaries or you don’t make any money.
“There’s no tolerance whatsoever from the NHVR, and I knew if I got fined I couldn’t afford to pay it.”
He said it’s a real shame that he has to leave the transport industry, because he has a deep personal attachment to it.
His father was in the industry for 40 years, and his 75-year-old brother is still a driver.
“I got my truck licence when I was 19. I started out driving singles, then B-doubles, then A-doubles.
“I went to some beautiful places and met some interesting people over the years, and I was hoping to get to drive triple road trains and stuff over West but not anymore.
“At the moment, a million dollars couldn’t get me to drive a truck. But I will miss it, that’s for sure.”