Release date: 27/08/2010

Truck drivers have said transport company Toll’s announcement of an increased profit during the economic downturn should be reflected in their upcoming EBA negotiations as well as in their business practices, especially their adherence to the chain of responsibility.

Transport Workers Union national secretary, Tony Sheldon, said the increased profit and discussion of additional contracts in the North West and through the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) should allow Toll to modify its business practices for the better.

“Under current arrangements with the ADF, the entire defence removals contract worth about half-a-billiion dollars a year is put out to the lowest bid with no checks on safety, service or labour arrangements,” Mr Sheldon said.

“We are seeing injuries and underpayments across the board yet Toll contracts the work out with no checks. Toll needs to realize that they are at the head of the chain of responsibility and they are ultimately responsible for the injuries to removalists and poor service received by defence force families.

“This is a government contract, and rather than being looked upon as a profit making venture, Toll should act responsibly and treat it like a service to the defence community - which is what it is,” Mr Sheldon said.

A 2009-2010 survey by the Transport Workers Union found that;

• a wife of an East Timor veteran who had to ask her friend to shine car headlights into the shipping container because the removalists didn’t bring enough light. On that same move she lost precious books and had to fight for months to get payment for their loss

• a defence force member whose valuables in storage were stored wet for two years and then offered goods from cash converters as a replacement

• a 28 year old worker with such  a serious back injury that he can’t have sex any more who work for a company undertaking Defence removals work

• Drivers being bribed an extra day’s pay to drive overnight without rest endangering lives

• An 18 year old needing a back operation after working as a removalist and not being trained

• A driver forced to drive with two broken vertebrae and a ruptured disc as no replacement driver was made available

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