Tired truckies to get a fair break

Release date: 22/11/2011

Fatigued truckies will be able to dob in unsafe work conditions to a new industry watchdog that will also have extraordinary powers to improve their pay and conditions.

Patrick Lion, The Daily Telegragh

In a bid to lower the road toll, the federal government will set up a transport spin-off of Fair Work Australia to improve pay and conditions of truck drivers who are forced to speed and carry heavy loads to earn more money.

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese will reveal the new Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal today, which will have the power to order companies to alter arrangements involving financial incentives that encourage risky behaviour.

For example, a truck company offered a contract by a big supermarket below the rate needed to do the job safely could approach the tribunal.

The move comes amid widespread concerns over the pressures on truck drivers to speed to meet deadlines, carry illegal loads and work without pay to fulfil deliveries.

Mr Albanese said the new system, to start from July 1 next year, would save lives by ensuring drivers were paid reasonably for the work they did.

"Where the tribunal determines that a sector of the industry has poor safety outcomes as a result of lower remuneration, the tribunal will be able to make a Road Safety Remuneration Order to improve the on-road safety outcomes for drivers operating in that sector," Mr Albanese said. "Truck drivers should not have to speed, overload their trucks, drive excessive hours or cut back on vehicle maintenance just to make a decent living."

The laws will be introduced into parliament this week after a Transport Workers Union survey found one in four truck drivers admitted driving at unsafe speeds to meet deadlines.

One in five said they had felt pressure to carry an illegally large load while more than half had been forced to forego vehicle maintenance because of cost pressures.

 Click here to read the story on The Daily Telegragh website

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