Transport Workers Union national secretary, Tony Sheldon, called on major banks to be understanding given the large debts some owner drivers are carrying.
“The cost of a prime mover can be up to $350,000. It is a large investment to be stuck on the side of the road waiting for water to recede,” Mr Sheldon said.
“We urgently need a system of safe rates so drivers are not now forced to cut corners to break even in what could turn out to be a tough time for the industry,” Mr Sheldon said.
The Transport Workers Union has also while the floods were a tragedy on a large scale for Queensland and Victoria, it would also play havoc on supply chains throughout the state and nationally.
“With the floods moving across many transport routes, there also needs to be tolerance. Far too often drivers face the same schedule regardless of road conditions, with the threat of client-enforced penalties or long periods of unpaid waiting times if they miss slots,” Mr Sheldon said. “This puts pressure on smaller and medium companies, including owner drivers.
“That can’t be allowed to happen. We will be monitoring the situation and calling for meetings with all major transport parties including clients. In the meantime, if drivers or operators are facing pressure to deliver in spite of the circumstance, we want them to contact the Union,” Mr Sheldon said.
Transport Workers Union Queensland Secretary, Peter Biagini, said that owner drivers who relied on flooded regions for their livelihoods should be able to access any financial support available to businesses from the areas.
“Owner drivers are small businesses and will be facing as much hardship as other businesses throughout the area,” Mr Biagini said.
“As the regions recover, these drivers will need assistance to stay in business and recover from the financial hit they are taking now, without feeling the pressure to go harder.
During the floods, long-time Queensland owner driver, Frank Black, said that with the floods came road cuts leaving drivers stranded and unable to work.
“A lot of my work goes into that area and west of Rockhampton and I can’t go there,” Mr Black said.
“But it is not just me, a lot of drivers are affected. Anyone travelling further north is having hassles getting through. It is really affecting business,” Mr Black said.