Coles Must Stop Dancing Around Truck Safety

Release date: 16/05/2012

Coles and other major retailers must stop dancing around safety in the transport industry and
begin to play their part in safer roads for everyone. That’s according to Tony Sheldon, National
Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU).

Tony was speaking today, 16.5.12, as the TWU reached out to more than 1.8 million trade union
members during the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Congress in Sydney, asking
them to support the call for major retailers to stop squeezing truckies.

TWU members and supporters also conducted a flash mob performance of “The Safety Dance”
outside Coles Pyrmont Store in central Sydney.

Tony Sheldon commented, “We are here today to tell Coles it is time they stopped dancing
around safety and began to take their responsibilities to truckies and every road user seriously.
Major retailers are responsible for 32% of the entire retail transport task. That’s almost one in
every three trucks on our roads working for Coles and other major retailers.”

“This enormous economic power enables Coles and other major retailers them to dictate to
truckies and transport companies on price, delivery schedules and delivery windows. A recent
survey of over 700 truck drivers found that 55% of drivers in the Coles supply chain admitted to
driving at unsafe speeds. When you squeeze a guy driving a 40 tonne truck day in day out,
paying him a pittance and demanding unrealistic deadline after unrealistic deadline, you create
the conditions for chaos.”

“The safety crisis on our roads, as a result of pressures on truckies, is all too visible. An average
of 330 people are killed on our roads each year in truck crashes and more than 5300 are injured.
Truck driving is Australia’s most dangerous industry with a death rate more than 10 times the
industrial average. Recent Safe Work Australia figures show that one in every three workplace
fatalities are in trucking.”

“This has to end. Coles and other major retailers must stop squeezing truckies, they must ensure
they get a fair wage and are not pressured to meet impossible deadlines. The TWU is reaching
out to the 1.8 million members of trade unions affiliated to the ACTU, asking them to support our
campaign for road safety and decent pay for truckies.”
Tony Sheldon concluded, “TWU truckies and their families will not stop campaigning on this issue
until we get major retailers like Coles to take safety seriously. It’s time for them to play their part
and stop dancing around safety.”


For further information, please contact: Barry Dunning, Press Officer, TWU, Tel:
0408 463 199, email:

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