Opinion

Fighting back for drivers against ‘Amazon Effect’

The transport industry faces a race to the bottom, encouraged by the involvement of global corporations like Amazon. 

The ‘Amazon Effect’ is attacking good, secure transport jobs in the interests of increasing the bottom line for company shareholders, not transport operators. 

We know the federal government could fix the problem, but we also know Scott Morrison is refusing to act.

We remain concerned at what the TWU sees as exploitative sham contracting arrangements which operate outside our industrial relations system, the likes of Amazon and Uber are undercutting the industry and forcing other operators to attack their workers to remain competitive. 

Proper rates, means that the industry can afford the investments they have made into their own trucks, maintenance and road costs like Transurban toll roads and the hike in fuel prices. 

Our roads will only get more deadly if the financial security and safety conditions transport workers rely on are ripped out from under them by the ‘Amazon Effect’.

Since Amazon came into Australia they have called police to block the TWU from inspecting conditions in workplaces, sacked dozens of drivers after they’d spoken to the TWU and failed to train workers on safety. 

We cannot allow the likes of Amazon to keep dragging down standards in road transport.

Senator Glenn Sterle has published a Senate report that provided recommendations to the federal government to establish an independent body to create and enforce minimum standards in road transport. 

So far from the federal government: dead silence. 

The TWU are taking on the ‘Amazon Effect’ as we want to make sure that it does not damage our industry. 

The TWU has announced a very important win from the NSW Industrial Relations Commission who have ruled that a minimum wage rate must be set for owner-drivers who run what you transport, on the ‘last mile’, under the General Carriers Contract Determination. 

We led an industry-wide consultation which has seen a significant increase to minimum rates of pay that have not changed for 15 years.

The minimum pay rate for an owner-driver of vehicles 3t and under was set at $28 almost 15 years ago. 

With stagnant rates of pay, some drivers have been left behind earning below minimum wage after costs. For some it’s an increase of more than 40 per cent implemented over the next three years. 

It sets up for the industry another minimum floor on which conditions can be improved, and the negative impact of the ‘Amazon Effect’ will be removed. 

NSW has also become the first jurisdiction in the world to mandate enforceable rates for Amazon drivers. 

Workers and the community need job security, fairness and safety. 

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