Union Will Fight Repeal of Truck Pay Body
Release date: 14/11/2013
The Transport Workers Union says it will work with the opposition and minor parties to block any repeal of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).
TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says six fatal truck crashes across the country since Monday is evidence of the pressure on drivers to speed or skip rest breaks.
In May, then opposition leader Tony Abbott said the Productivity Commission would look at the tribunal as part of its review of the Fair Work laws if he won government.
"We're seeing more and more deaths as a result of speeding, fatigue and and poor maintenance - all caused by employers setting lunatic deadlines and keeping trucks on the road too long," Mr Sheldon said in a statement.
Since Monday six people died in accidents in involving trucks in WA, NSW and Queensland.
Mr Sheldon said the TWU will work with Labor and minor parties in the senate to block any repeal of the RSRT.
"It's time to end the pressure on drivers through action in the RSRT, which sets safe rates of pay and conditions in heavy vehicle transport," Mr Sheldon said.
"The Abbott government is 'reviewing the Tribunal with a view to closing it down," Mr Sheldon said.
"If this occurs we'll see even tighter deadlines, worse maintenance and more pressure on our drivers.
"That can only mean more truck crashes and deaths on our roads."
Mr Sheldon said a 2012 industry survey of Coles supply chains showed 46 per cent of heavy vehicle drivers were pressured to skip rest breaks to meet delivery.
Twenty eight per cent of drivers carried overweight loads in order to deliver goods, while 26 per cent were pressured to speed to meet employer deadlines.
The supermarket giant last week publicly rejected the study's findings, saying deaths in the road transport sector had plunged from 58 in 2006/07 to 30 in 2010/11.
"We share the union's concern for safety because it's also our number one priority, but the figures they use are wrong," a coles spokeswoman said at the time.
"Safe Work Australia issued a report last month which confirmed that the number of annual fatalities in the road freight transport industry has almost halved.
"This is despite a big increase in the amount of freight moved by road."
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