Opinion

Government must legislate change to help truckies

The TWU knows that workers want to get on with their jobs, be paid fairly, be kept safe while they drive and need the federal government to set up a national plan that does not keep them guessing as to which border closes next, where they can get tested or where they can go if they choose to be vaccinated. 

It means respect on the road, for people who have not stopped moving over the pandemic period.

Truck drivers desperately need the kind of support that offers practical solutions to running a truck and ensuring that a driver gets home safely. Truck drivers need organisations to engage with us to campaign hard for rest areas and ensure transport workers can access decent truck stops rather than just technical solutions that only make a small, and expensive dent in the fatigue problems drivers face. 

We need governments to take a long hard look at the financial impact truck drivers face from organisations like Transurban and their toll road rorts.

Senator Glenn Sterle has led an inquiry into the transport Industry which has come up with a series of practical solutions that can and should be adopted to ensure a safer and fairer transport industry. 

The strongest of these that the TWU sees is the recommendation to establish an independent body which will set “universal, binding standards” in road transport. 

Those standards see thousands of transport workers taking action over the weeks to come, over attacks on their job security, and attacks on good, permanent jobs as major transport operators try to strip bare labour costs. 

The TWU sees every day the impact of the actions of major profitable retailers, manufacturers and companies who are demanding their goods be delivered for less and in unrealistic time frames. 

Australia’s deadliest industry is being pushed harder and harder because of deregulated models of transport being offered by the likes of Amazon. The push that leads to driver’s deaths is still not being recognised enough. 

No-one is seeking to take a sufficient share of the responsibility for the pressures that push drivers into working excessive hours, skipping rest breaks and ignoring fatigue management regulations. With little individual bargaining power, drivers are often forced to put themselves in danger. 

Same job, same pay ensures safety rates for workers. These objectives cannot be achieved unless the federal government legislates change in the road transport industry and ensures its rigorous enforcement.

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