Drivers urge police to investigate client delivery systems

Release date: 7/09/2010

Truck drivers are urging police to investigate client delivery systems in the wake of 14 drivers testing positive to amphetamines or cannabis or a combination at Marulan last week.

The Transport Workers Union national secretary, Tony Sheldon, said that nobody was condoning the use of drugs, but said the driver was the end of the supply chain, and illegal pressures placed on them should also be investigated.

“I have been speaking to drivers over the last few months and they are all talking about how tough economically it is at the moment,” Mr Sheldon said.

“When drivers are talking like that, you know that they are financially pressured to make ends meet and some can end up making poor decisions in order to break even.

“Some drivers might break fatigue laws, others take drugs. At the end of the day, it cannot be condoned. But if the client sets up a system where the driver has to go hard or be fined by the client for missing a loading spot, then drivers are going to be pressured.

“Targeting drivers is only getting the tail of the lion. It is the head of the beast that makes all the decisions and decides where the pressure is placed, and until government authorities are serious about enforcing this system – we will see more accidents on our roads.

“Minister Daley has proven over the past years he is dedicated to safety in the industry. In May he announced a blitz of more than 80 heavy vehicle depots and companies by WorkCover inspectors in order to investigate the supply chain.

“We need to see WorkCover and the police to investigate the chain and get to the root cause of the problem and that is the clients putting economic pressure on the transport industry.

“Drivers are not guaranteed full-cost recovery – there is a real need for the immediate implement of safe rates and conditions covering both employee and owner-drivers. We need to see drivers get full cost recovery so they are not forced to undertake unsafe working practices to make a living,” Mr Sheldon said.

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