Opinion

A new year and so many questions still to answer

Welcome to 2021. You have no doubt just driven through one of the busiest periods of the year and how was it for you? Were you able to find adequate rest areas to pull up and manage your fatigue requirements on the road? How was the holiday traffic?

Are you still concerned that car driver behaviour just does not change around your heavy vehicle? How’s the toll road bills?

What about payments? Are you still chasing for that overdue invoice to be paid and getting nowhere because the accountant who pays the invoice is on holidays?

A new year, and so many questions still to be answered. A new year and a fresh chance for transport workers to be involved in stepping up the campaign to fight for better standards in transport.

There is work to be done. Following the impact of COVID, the TWU took a strategic decision to defer bargaining to ensure we were bargaining from a position of strength and not weakness. Now 2021 is here, we’re ready to fight hard for the pay and conditions transport workers deserve. We need everyone on board to make this a success. Make sure you are involved because our industry depends on it.

We left 2020 with NSW promised $398 million worth of road and safety projects for the NSW Safer Roads Program.

I can’t find any Government commitment to rest areas. I can’t find commitments to modify car driver behaviour, or provide them training as our trucks get bigger.

There is however plenty of roadwork which will no doubt improve roads that we use, but I’m also finding suggestions that reducing truck speed limits is the way to go for safety in areas like the Snowy Highway region. This is not the safety answer our industry needs.

The hit on income still continues for transport workers. The TWU has still not heard from the NSW Government in response to our concerns about the deal on toll roads. NorthConnex is providing bill shock for more transport businesses than before.

The exploitative deal causing pain comes from drivers being forced to take heavy vehicles into the tunnel. There is no cost recovery for those forced onto a toll road.

Overnight, Pennant Hills road is nearly empty.  Can drivers  be allowed to choose to use the road overnight and make savings for their business?

Owner drivers are looking for a viable option for cost recovery, and we are calling on the NSW Government to stop their deals from eating into transport workers’ bottom lines. Let’s look at ways of making the road fairer.

In 2021 we will continue the talks with the Federal Government and employer groups on industrial relations reform. The employer groups are fighting over how far they can go on trying to strip away our rights but we are not about to allow them to drive conditions for working families into the ground.

Critical workers in transport carrying out a critical service means that we cannot ignore the desperate need for safety and fairness in road transport.

We’d welcome you to join us for the fight. 

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