TWU

TRUCKING CONVOYS HIT CAPITAL CITIES IN A MASSIVE SHOW OF FORCE TO DEMAND INDUSTRY REFORM

Release date: 31/03/2019

Hundreds of truck drivers and their supporters have taken to the streets of all major capitals demanding regulation to address the slaughter on the roads from truck crashes.


Around 200 trucks traversed the Harbour Bridge in Sydney taking up lanes in both directions before looping around the city centre, while trucks also converged on Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
 
 
Drivers are protesting at the lack of safety and fairness in trucking which has seen 27 people killed in truck crashes so far this month, nine of them truck drivers. Since the Federal Government tore down a road safety watchdog nearly three years ago, 535 people have died in truck crashes, including 115 truck drivers. Drivers are demanding an end to the deadly pressure they are under to work long hours, speed and skip mandatory rest breaks which cause risks to safety on the roads. 
 
“This convoy is about sending a message to the Federal Government: we want the needless deaths, the injuries, the wage theft, the insolvencies and the job losses to end. We have a plan for change and we want it implemented. We demand regulation to lift standards and address the problems in our industry. We want to make sure that wealthy retailers, manufacturers and oil companies at the top of the supply pay their fair share to make sure their goods are transported safely,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
 
“Our aim is to put an end to the high numbers of preventable truck crashes that cost so many lives. No truck should be on the road if its brakes are faulty, its tyres are bald or if its load is not strapped down properly. No driver should be forced to work long hours, speed and skip mandatory rest breaks just to make a deadline. No families should be left devasted because of the death of a loved one, killed because company profits were considered to be more important than paying appropriate rates to transport operators and drivers,” he added.
 
Driver Tony Matthews said: “It’s not hard to work out that if drivers aren’t paid an appropriate rate they can’t maintain their trucks or take their rest breaks. That’s why we need urgent change to make sure all drivers are safe on the roads,” he said.
 
The convoys follow a December move by the Labor Party to include policy in its platform on a system of Safe Rates, to lift standards across the industry in order to tackle low wages, high numbers of bankruptcies and high numbers of deaths and injuries, by holding major retails and manufacturers at the top accountable.
 
Since the road safety watchdog was torn down in April 2016:
 
  • Statistics show 1,045 businesses in transport, warehousing and postal have become insolvent, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
 
  • A Department of Infrastructure report has said: “Heavy trucks are disproportionately involved in casualty crashes: approximately 16 per cent of road crash fatalities and 4 per cent of injuries involve these vehicles.” ABS data shows that trucks represent just 3.6% of registered motor vehicles.
 
  • A Macquarie University report and survey has criticised a “critical gap” in regulation and shown that: 
  1. over 80% of truck drivers work more than 50 hours a week; 10% work over 80 hours
  2.  one in six drivers who own their own trucks do not believe they can refuse an unsafe load
  3. almost one in five owner drivers said they would not report being pressured to falsify a work diary; 42% of owner drivers said the reason drivers do not report safety breaches was because of a fear of losing their jobs
 
  • A series of studies by Monash University has shown that:
Trucking is Australia’s deadliest job, with drivers 13 times more likely to die at work than any other profession. The job is also one of Australia’s unhealthiest with over 1 million weeks of working time lost over a 12-year period.
 
  • A 2019 report by AMP showed:
25% of transport workers are suffering from financial stress. This is the highest rate of any industry.
 
  • A Senate Committee report has recommended that:
“The committee recommends that the Australian Government convene a series of industry-led roundtables to make recommendations to government to establish an independent industry body which has the power to formulate, implement and enforce supply chain standards and accountability as well as sustainable, safe rates for the transport industry.”
 


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