Transport Workers Protest At Coles Headquarters Over Safety


Truck drivers and family members left devastated by truck crashes stormed the headquarters of Coles in Melbourne today to demand that the wealthy retailer sign up to a safety charter to stop the carnage on our roads.

The group delivered shopping trollies of evidence to Coles chief executive John Durkan showing how the company’s practices puts pressure on truck drivers to drive faster, for longer with over-loaded vehicles in a stressed and tired state. Protesters also blocked a busy Melbourne Road during the demonstration.
This leads to on average 330 deaths a year in truck related crashes and thousands of injuries. It is the reason why trucking is Australia’s deadliest profession with truck drivers 15 times more likely to die than any other profession.
“We are here to tell Coles that we demand accountability. By cutting their transport costs they are ultimately responsible for practices which see drivers under pressure,” said Tony Sheldon TWU National Secretary.
"Coles: your contracts are killing people," he told the protest, ahead of a TWU safety summit on trucking.
Lystra Tagliaferri, whose husband David died in 2011 when a fatigued truck driver veered off the road, told the protest she supports the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal which examines pressure on drivers and can set safe pay rates. “I am living a death sentence and I don’t want other families to have to go through this,” she said.
Mark Trevillian, a truck driver, said drivers must be paid proper rates so they don’t have to drive long grueling hours putting themselves and other road users at risk. “The pressure has got to stop. I’ve known mates who have died and have been to too many funerals from truck crashes,” he said.
Dave Oliver ACTU Secretary called on Coles to back the safety charter and for the federal government to leave the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal in place so it can set safe rates for drivers.
Wealthy retailer Coles, whose revenues were $37 billion last year and whose top executives have million-dollar pay packets, cuts transport costs each year. This means transport operators down the supply chain do not maintain their vehicles and don't pay their drivers enough.
Coles has donated $2.1 million to the Liberal Party, which since it has come to power has said it wants to scrap the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.
A survey done by the TWU shows:
·      46% of drivers in the Coles supply chain feel pressured to skip breaks, 
·      28% feel pressured to speed  
·      26% feel pressured to carry overweight loads

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