Opinion

A collective voice is power in action

The ongoing exclusion of voices of drivers from the talks to safeguard supply chains and improve conditions is typical of the disregard held by the current government and sadly some companies, for the transport Industry. 

Some examples? I can point at the NSW government’s disregard for transport operators when it comes to dodgy deals made with Transurban over toll roads. 

I can equally point at the federal government who are racking up quite some distance between the release date of the Senator Sterle Inquiry report into the transport industry and their continued lack of response. 

We must have drivers in the conversations on the issues in our industry. We know that the federal government is excluding worker voices from the response to the flood crisis that both Queensland and NSW communities face. 

Transport workers have always stepped up; they have always been first in line to help their communities in difficult times. They kept freight and people moving during the pandemic, they continue to find a way even now with routes blocked. You know that transport workers are personally copping the impact on getting supplies to people in need. 

Governments and companies must deal with this increasing impact on transport workers across Australia. Employee and contract carriers face increased financial uncertainty, and need assurance of the security of work they do. 

The job gets done but fuel prices are on the increase, with currently very little relief in sight. Transurban toll roads continue to increase in cost, rest areas are inadequate, the pressure on drivers remains relentless. In other words, we all know the personal and financial costs of doing the job are not getting easier. 

The TWU has seen recent comments by the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce: “The Government is working with its international partners, jurisdictions and the industry to keep freight moving.” 

We are not seeing those conversations with drivers.

Australia’s supply chains are vulnerable, and this makes transport workers vulnerable. Workers need good, secure conditions and a say over policy changes that directly affect their work and their safety.

A collective voice of union workers is power in action. We have previously come together as part of the industry, we have maintained the pressure back up towards the top of the supply chain, we have maintained and built on workplace conditions for employee and owner-drivers. 

Transport workers, who are integral to moving businesses forward have fought as one, against Covid, wealthy clients and operators like FedEx, StarTrack, Toll and Global Express who threatened job security, pay and conditions.

Transport workers took a stand to secure their future against those paving the way for under cutting of the market, like Amazon. Transport workers last year secured wages and conditions that carry this industry forward. 

Now it is time to enforce, time to ensure that the protections we have won, are not undermined. 

You wherever you work can be a part of that future and play a crucial role with the backing of the union. 

The TWU is to ensure that the industry does not go in reverse. We look forward to working together to improve the lives of transport workers and our families, ensure a stronger future and be a part of the mechanism for change across the entire transport industry.

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