In a united industry push for life-saving transport reform, truck drivers, couriers, gig workers, transport employers and transport associations will today convoy from Sydney to Canberra and in capital cities across the country.
More than 50 transport workers have been killed on the job since August last year, when a Senate report was tabled setting out 10 recommendations including for the Federal Government to establish an independent body to set universal, binding standards.
Over 100 vehicles will convoy to Parliament House in Canberra, while local convoys will pass State Parliaments in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
At Parliament House this week and joining convoys today, industry groups Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation, National Road Freighters Association and major operators ACFS and FBT Transwest have stood shoulder to shoulder with workers to call for reform.
The action is to demonstrate extensive industry support and call for all parliamentarians to back a standard-setting body. Industry is calling for urgent action from the Federal Government to guard against the Amazon Effect making transport deadlier.
The convoys come as FedEx attempts to bring in an underclass of drivers, akin to exploitative gig company Amazon Flex, who will use their own cars or vans on piece rates at just $2.50 per parcel.
Drivers under the system would be expected to deliver an astronomical 93 parcels in a 10-hour shift – or one every 6 minutes – just to earn $35 an hour before vehicle, fuel and insurance costs and without superannuation, sick leave or protection from unfair dismissal.
Transport workers and industry groups have been in Canberra this week meeting politicians to share real-life examples of gig economy and supply chain pressure making their jobs harder and more dangerous.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine:
“It’s never been harder for transport workers to safely make a decent living, and things are getting worse. With wealthy clients at the top of supply chains squeezing transport costs and exploitative gig models infiltrating more of the transport industry, companies are under pressure to follow suit or risk being pushed out of the market. That’s a deadly recipe, and it’s why some unexpected allies have come together to call for life-saving transport reform. Major operators, employer associations and even Uber have linked arms with the TWU to call for urgent action to level the playing field and make transport safer and more sustainable.
“With the growing Amazon Effect threatening businesses, wages and lives on our roads, workers and industry groups are convoying across the country today to remind the Federal Government that a body to set safe standards in transport can’t wait.”
ARTIO Secretary Peter Anderson:
“At Parliament House this week and in support of convoys today, ARTIO is representing employers alongside employees, owner drivers and gig workers to show politicians that the downward pressure on pay and conditions and the threat of the gig economy puts us all at risk. Transport companies who’ve kept this country moving for years are stuck between a rock and a hard place under pressure to slash costs to compete in an unbalanced, unfair, and unsafe market. We need urgent reform to provide a safety net for everyone and return healthy competition to one of Australia’s most essential industries.”
NRFA President Rod Hannifey:
“We’re joining the convoy to Canberra to show that the industry is united behind reform and to call for urgent action on the 10 recommendations of a detailed Senate Report tabled last year. Truck drivers and truck companies share the same concerns about the current crisis in transport. The industry is at breaking point and everyone is feeling it. That’s why we’ve come together for change.”
FBT Transwest Managing Director Cameron Dunn:
“As an employer in the dangerous goods sector of transport, my company not only supports but is joining industry action to call for reform that will provide safe standards. The Federal Government must act to ensure all parts of the supply chain are accountable so that good businesses like mine which values and protects its workforce can continue doing so.”
ACFS Managing Director and CEO Arthur Tzaneros:
“Employers and workers in transport supply chains are alike – we’re all feeling the same pressure. We have the Amazon Effect delivering below minimum wages and conditions that don’t exist as they would at traditional operators. Unregulated business models like AmazonFlex are having a devastating effect on wages, conditions, safety and sustainability. We urgently need the Federal Government to act on a standard-setting body.”