TWU calls for dispatcher of truck drivers after StarTrack, FedEx and Toll strikes

Australian truckers say too many drivers are forced into precarious working conditions and under pressure to break the rules.

Nearly half of Australian truck drivers know someone who has been killed on the job and one in two has had their wages stolen, according to a Transport Workers’ Union investigation.

Ninety-three percent of the 1,100 truck drivers surveyed wanted the industry to be safer, a third had been injured on the job, and 30 percent said they knew drivers who had taken stimulants to stay awake on the road.

Of the 52 percent who said they suffered wage theft, 68 percent had not been paid for the work they had done and 43 percent were underpaid.

The TWU, which represents 30,000 transport workers, has questioned its truck driver members to strengthen its position as it organizes continued industrial action at major logistics companies.

Veteran Adelaide driver Daniel McNicol said transport operators were switching to cheaper, contract labor without proper training and that he would leave the industry if he could.

“Something has to be done to put everyone on the same page. It’s actually very scary, ”he said.

“Some of the things I have seen are horrible.”

He said truckers often faced precarious working conditions and pressures to forge logbooks, skip breaks and drive dangerously and that he had to drive a truck with a gaping hole under the steering wheel all before. when transporting dangerous goods.

Workers at StarTrack, FedEx, Toll, Linfox and Bevchain on Thursday gave their companies seven days to agree to their demands for safer working conditions, warning they would otherwise face a national day of coordinated strikes.

“The pressure is coming from manufacturers, those at the top of the supply chain who hire truck drivers to take on the task,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.

“They have so much market power that companies sign marginal contracts and drivers are pushed really hard. “

The union is pushing for a trucking industry watchdog body to be put in place, five years after a similar body was abolished under the leadership of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Minister of Justice. ‘Job at the time, Michaelia Cash.

The Highway Safety Compensation Tribunal was dissolved in 2016 after issuing a controversial order establishing a national minimum rate of pay for truck drivers, which angered some driver-owners who feared it would make them not competitive.

Mr Kaine said the tribunal had made “errors in judgment” and that a new regulator should be different, with more industry involvement.

Brisbane truck owner-operator Frank Black, who was a strong TWU advocate for the ousted court, said he would like another body set up with “enforceable power” to intervene in wages and the conditions.

“There have been all kinds of changes everywhere, but the reality is I think people are still doing the same old thing that was happening years ago,” he said.

Last August, a Senate committee that examined safety in the trucking industry made 10 recommendations, including that the government “create or empower” an independent body that would consult with the industry to establish universal and binding standards.

The federal government is expected to formally respond to the Senate report in the coming months, with the union likely at odds with the Coalition over the pay-safety link.

Queensland Liberal National Senator Susan McDonald, deputy chair of the Senate Transport Committee, said the focus on compensation could be a distraction from other important recommendations.

“We should focus on how to harmonize regulations to continue to focus on appropriate spending on roads, maintenance and infrastructure. And support the introduction of new technologies, ”she said.

Senator McDonald said it is unlikely that a regulator like the tribunal will be resurrected and that there are other ways to address industry concerns.

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