The Transport Workers Union is calling for urgent reforms after three people were killed in horrific truck incidents over the past week.
Yesterday a man was hit by a truck in the northern suburbs of Adelaide at the Ingham Chicken Factory. A man was killed after a collision with a truck in south-eastern South Australia on Friday. Last Wednesday, a 13-year-old boy was killed after the industrial ferry he was sleeping in was emptied by a truck on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
TWU SA / NT branch secretary Ian Smith said the federal government should be blamed for demolishing an independent tribunal that was investigating the safety risks of trucking.
“Three gruesome deaths occurred last week and investigations into them will only go so far. They will not be looking at all transport supply chains to look at the security protocols in place. Investigations will not examine contracts that operators and drivers are working on to see if the tariffs paid were sufficient to ensure that the goods were delivered safely. We can expect more deaths on our roads as long as the safety risks are ignored, ”he said.
“The federal government demolished an independent tribunal five years ago that investigated transportation supply chains, resulting in deaths and injuries. He issued orders to remedy these risks and prevent tragedies from occurring. Nothing has been put in its place and families and communities are paying the price. There is a deadly dynamic at play where wealthy retailers, manufacturers and oil companies demand low cost contracts, forcing transport operators and drivers to delay truck maintenance, speed up, drive long hours and to avoid breaks. The federal government allowed this to happen and is now silent about the consequences, ”Smith added.
In the past five years, 885 people have died in truck crashes, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. During the same period, 183 transport workers died on the job, the highest rate by far of any industry, according to Safe Work Australia.
The TWU earlier this month announced action in the coming months against some of the world’s largest retailers Amazon, Apple and Aldi in a bid to make trucking safer and fairer.
The union is reporting complaints to more than 50 major retailers warning of their responsibility to make sure they pay carriers enough to ensure their goods are delivered safely. The plan of action and protests comes as company deals for thousands of transport workers expire in the coming months, with operators already revealing they cannot cope with modest wage demands due to squeezing retailers.