TWU Takes Coles to Task

Release date: 26/04/2013

It's time for Coles to start working with truckies and improve safety on the roads, says Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon.

Big Rigs, 26 April 2013

He was speaking in response to the TWU 2012 Safe Rates Survey which was completed by 950 truck drivers at truck stops, yards, depots and distribution centres around Australia and online.

More than 70% of drivers working for Coles have said that major retailers were the main cause of dangerous pressures in the industry.

Sheldon said the survey "sheds lights on an industry where drivers are pushed to the edge and beyond...".

"I think rightly, drivers should get more outraged."

Sheldon said the finger was pointed squarely at big retailers like Coles as the survey highlighted pressures in "Australia’s most dangerous industry".

"They (Coles) can’t keep putting their head in the sand."

And the results reinforced what truckies were saying every day, Sheldon said.

"It’s the big retailers that are responsible for the squeeze on truckies, and Coles are the most ruthless. Coles want their goods delivered for the lowest price no matter what. But when you squeeze truckies day in and day out, forcing them to meet impossible deadlines and paying them dangerously low rates, you have a recipe for disaster.

Sheldon’s message for Coles is they should be working with drivers and the road transport industry to improve conditions and safety on the roads.

"Instead they are focussed solely on their bottom line and, together with their lobby groups, they are attempting to undermine any progress taken to improve the lot of truck drivers, such as the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

"If Coles are willing to come to the table and offer some farmers a fair go, then it’s past time they did the same for truckies.

"These survey results show the scale of pressures in the industry, and the sooner Coles choose to act, the sooner we can tackle the carnage on our roads and make sure that truckies get a fair go."

Sheldon said Coles should be given a legal responsibility, and they had an ethical one to pay proper rates. "Who pays for the $1 litre of milk, the truck drivers, the farmers and the people going broke."

Sheldon said the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal was critical to getting better outcomes for the drivers that had fought for better rates.

But he said people needed to stand up against the pressures for better rights and conditions.

"Drivers should pursue their rights collectively."

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