Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) is doubling down on its fight for truckies’ basic rights after fielding reports at the weekend that some service stations were now barring them from rest areas and other facilities.
In a strongly worded newsletter, CEO Simon O’Hara promised that RFNSW will name and shame any business or individual who tries to deny drivers their usual access.
“Whether it be a service station or customer or anyone else who won’t allow our truckies basic decency and respect while they perform their essential service for our community,” O’Hara said.
“It is important to reflect that we are all able to continue to work from home and have goods on the shelves because of truckies working through a pandemic.
“Truckies are putting themselves and their families at risk so that the community has their essential good and services such as vaccine, toilet paper, Manildra flour and our friend Dan Murphy.”
O’Hara said he’d also heard of incidences in which private companies who take deliveries refusing truckies, both long haul and short haul, the use of the facilities and directing them to shopping malls and council toilets.
He said one member wrote to him to tell him a customer had used the latest Covid health orders as an excuse.
“They have provided the addresses of local truck stops,” the member writes.
“To tell our drivers that after a five-hour drive they cannot go to the toilet or make a coffee on the premises is ridiculous.
“To me it is just wrong.”
As a consequence, O’Hara said he has since contacted NSW Police to alert them of the issues and seek reassurance for operators and their drivers.
‘I had a really good conversation with Superintendent Tony Boyd from the Highway Patrol who has told me that NSW Police will not be stopping truckies from using service station facilities.
“Tony has confirmed this with the Police Operations Command (POC). Tony has also said that NSW Police will not be stopping anyone who is putting food on the shelves. Great news to hear from Tony!”
WA Senator Glenn Sterle also added his voice to the call by RFNSW to name and shame anyone snubbing truckies with this tweet today.
Disappointing to hear that truckies are again being turned away from rest areas. I stand behind our truckies and with @RoadFreightNSW in calling this behavior out. If you’re aware of any businesses who aren’t letting truckies use basic facilities, we want to know! @BigRigsnews https://t.co/nxObPzDRok
— Senator Glenn Sterle (@GlennSterle) July 11, 2021
O’Hara said he has also reached out to the NSW transport ministers’ political staff and sought their urgent response to the access concerns.
Meanwhile, he’d like to hear directly from anyone who has experienced this sort of discrimination. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.