TWU

Hampton Truck Crash

Release date: 31/03/2014

Transport Workers Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon today said the Hampton truck crash on March 26 was further evidence of the pressure on drivers to speed or skip rest breaks in order to meet unrealistic deadlines.

“Road transport is Australia’s most dangerous industry, with 330 deaths in truck crashes last year,” Mr Sheldon said.
 
“Tragically, this includes the driver killed last Friday in Hampton in southeast Melbourne when his truck overturned and crashed into a tree.
 
“The crash was the subject of significant coverage in the Herald Sun and other Melbourne media outlets. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
 
“But it is understood the driver may have been subcontracted to Coles.
 
“Coles is the poster-child for unfair pressure on drivers.
 
 “Around Australia we are seeing more and more deaths as a result of speeding, fatigue and poor maintenance – all caused by employers setting lunatic deadlines and keeping trucks on the road too long.
 
“A 2012 industry surveys showed 46% of drivers in the Coles supply chain are pressured to skip rest breaks, and 26% have to speed to meet delivery deadlines.
 
“It’s time to end pressure on drivers through action in the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, which sets safe rates of pay and conditions in heavy vehicle transport.
 
“The Abbott Government is “reviewing” the Tribunal with a view to closing it down.
 
“This followed closed-door talks between Government Ministers and the Coles Managing Director.
 
“If the Tribunal is abolished we’ll see even tighter deadlines, worse maintenance and more pressure on our drivers from clients like Coles.
 
“And that can only mean more truck crashes and deaths on our roads.”
 
 
The 2012 industry survey of Coles supply chain drivers found:
 
·      46% of heavy vehicle drivers were pressured to skip rest breaks to meet delivery times;
·      28% of drivers carried overweight loads in order to deliver goods on time; and
·      26% of drivers were pressured to speed to meet employer deadlines.
 
Comments from drivers taking part in the survey include:
 
·      “I skip brakes maintenance because we don’t have enough hours to complete our work ” (outer Brisbane)
·      “Loads are often overweight but you can’t afford to say no to the job.” (Victoria)
·      “The boss said if we miss the delivery windows we may as well kiss the contract goodbye.” (Tasmania)
 
Mr Sheldon said the Transport Workers Union would work with the Opposition and minor parties in the Senate to block any repeal of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and help prevent further fatalities involving heavy vehicles.


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