Release date: 21/12/2018

The TWU says the Federal Government is to blame for the collapse of Redstar Transport after it scrapped a road safety watchdog that held wealthy companies to account for their transport supply chain. 

Yesterday evening, the Transport Workers’ Union received written confirmation from Redstar Transport that it had appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers as liquidators. The official notice came many hours after the TWU had called for clarification for the 300 plus transport workers it has made redundant "effective immediately", including reports from truck drivers being told to leave their trucks at their destinations and find their own way home.

The TWU says the company's collapse is proof of the crisis in the industry and the need for regulation and is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to act.

“The crisis in trucking has struck again, this time bringing a transport operator to its knees and leaving 300 workers without a job just days before Christmas. Our thoughts are with the workers and their families as they navigate the holidays wondering what comes next," said TWU National Assistant Secretary Nick McIntosh.

"This is yet more evidence that the Federal Government’s abolition of the RSRT was nothing more than a free pass to the big end of town at the expense of operators being able to survive and pay their workers. This terrible outcome is on their conscience for allowing a deadly pressure to mount on transport operators and drivers and turn our roads into death traps,” McIntosh continued.

“It’s shocking and disgraceful that Minister O’Dwyer used this situation as an opportunity to have a pop at the union and Bill Shorten rather than showing an ounce of empathy when asked what the Government can do to help the workers yesterday. O’Dwyer and Morrison need to face up to their responsibilities and make sure these workers can see the holidays through while the liquidators assess the company,” McIntosh added.

Since the abolition of the watchdog in 2016, hundreds of transport operators have become insolvent.
An ASIC report shows that 469 companies entered into external administration in the transport, postal and warehousing industries between July 2016 and June 2017. The main reason for the insolvencies was inadequate cash flow.

The Federal Government’s own report also showed the tribunal would cut truck crashes by 28%*.

This week the Australian Labor Party announced a commitment to urgently tackle the crisis in transport by setting up an independent body to ensure minimum payments are made.

"We can take encouragement from the Labor Party’s commitment to address the downward spiral in transport. This demonstrates the urgency for a system of safe rates. It’s a damn shame that Redstar couldn’t be saved in time,” McIntosh said.

Since hearing the rumours, the TWU has worked with other operators to get assurances of job opportunities elsewhere. So far, the TWU has received a commitment from Toll as well as Linfox and ACFS. Redstar Transport workers are encouraged to contact their TWU branch.

The TWU is calling on wealthy companies at the top of the Redstar Transport supply chain to donate to the workers who’ve lost their jobs.

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