No more costs for Truckies

Release date: 6/07/2011

A Party revolt is brewing on carbon tax at this weekend’s ALP conference, with warnings it will cost lives on the road and leave truck drivers $5000 a year out of pocket.

Joe Hildebrand, Daily Telegraph

The powerful Transport Workers Union is orchestrating a confrontation with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and has enlisted the support of several other unions.

The union said that heavy vehicle fatalities had risen by 6 per cent in the past year under the Gillard government’s watch and the carbon tax would increase and accelerate the number of deaths.

Truck drivers also say the proposed 6c-lOc increase on diesel will cost them between $58 and $95 a week up to $4940 a year. They said this would force drivers to resort to unsafe driving practices in an effort just to stay on the road.

"The only way you can earn incentive payments is to cut corners," one driver said.

"The only way you can earn an extra quid is to speed or work longer. It just pushes us over the edge again.

"How many more truck drivers have got to get killed before they get the message?" TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said the tax had not been thought through, would cost lives on the road and the union would openly campaign against the government if it was not changed. In a withering attack, he said the union was harnessing support from other unions to tackle Ms Gillard over the issue and warned Labor was failing to represent the "broader community" and had become "a one-trick pony".

"Then when you look at the pen, there’s no more ponies left," he said.

The right-wing TWU automatically has the backing of the Health Workers Union and the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union, with all three voting as a bloc.

It is also seeking the support of the powerful Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, the largest and most influential union in the ALP.

Labor Senator Glenn Sterle yesterday said the ALP was following the "lunatic" Greens and he would back the TWU.

"While we are dancing to the tunes of the lunatic Greens who knows what is going to come out at the end of the day," he said.

Last month the NSW ALP executive which has all the major union players unanimously called on the government to enforce minimum safety standards for truckies. 

Click here to read the story on The Daily Telegraph website

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