Capital City Convoys For Safe Rates Are Essential

Release date: 27/06/2016

Big Rigs, by Richard Olsen, 25 June 2016
On Sunday, June 19, hundreds of transport workers coordinated a series of convoys and events as part of our campaign for Safe Rates for every single transport worker.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The TWU convoy saw a claimed 240 drivers take to the streets to oppose Malcolm Turnbull’s approach to helping truckies.

In Sydney, 240 transport workers, mostly owner-drivers, travelled in convoy across the Sydney Harbour and Anzac Bridges.
We were honking horns and shaking Sydney to lead a convoy of no confidence in Malcolm Turnbull’s impact on the trucking industry.
Turnbull likes to claim that he’s a truckie’s best friend, but all he cares about is a few photo-ops, anything he can run a scare campaign against Labor on, and making sure his mates in the big end of town don’t have to pay what it costs to safely transport their freight.
Because that is what this is all about. Money that should be going to hard working transport families is instead going into the pockets of big clients as bonuses for driving down transport workers’ wages and conditions.
This leads to drivers and operators under intense economic pressure.
Drivers forced to skip breaks, drive while fatigued or skimp on maintenance.
That leads to death and disaster in the transport industry and on our roads.
Over the past decade, more than 2500 Australians were killed in truck crashes.
Working in our industry means that you are 12 times more likely to die on the job than an average Australian.
That is a safety crisis by anyone’s measure, yet when national laws were put in place, vested interests and lobby groups kicked up a stink.
Ask yourself why the same industry groups and people who want to cut wages for employee drivers in the modern award review (NatRoads), or who represent the biggest transport clients (AiGroup), or who call for the abolition of a tribunal that mandated 30-day payment schedules then complain about how long payment times are leading to insolvencies (Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell) suddenly became the best friend of owner-drivers for a couple of weeks.
It’s because they benefit from creating division in the industry.
When the industry is battling itself, they can screw down rates even further and pocket the profits.
Malcolm Turnbull can have as many press conferences with fleet owners who were never even going to be affected by the RSRT Order as he likes; it won’t change the fact that he doesn’t care about transport workers and their families.
If he did he would have supported holding clients to account for the safe transport of their freight.
He would have got everyone together to fix the issues with the RSRT Order. Instead he seized on the issue as a cheap photo opportunity.
That’s why I will be putting the Liberals last on July 2. I would encourage everyone who wants a safer, fairer transport industry to do the same.

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