In a submission the TWU states the code is “irrevocably flawed” since it is based on legislation not capable of “removing the economic incentives that apply supply chain and contractual pressures” in transport. Its voluntary nature means “industry participants are free to ignore the code completely”, the TWU submission adds.
“This is not the time for voluntary codes, this not the time for weak, ineffectual guidelines. People are dying on our roads because of pressure in transport. Truck drivers are being killed and injured, making the job Australia’s deadliest. We have endemic underpayment of drivers, chronically fatigued drivers who are pushed to drive long hours and speed, faulty trucks on our roads, and transport operators barely keeping their heads above water. What we need is legally enforceable change to tackle these problems at the point that they begin: with the wealthy retailers and manufacturers right at the top of the transport supply chain,” said Michael Kaine, Acting National Secretary of the TWU.
“Without holding wealthy clients like Aldi to account over low cost contracts, these types of codes and regulation will simply perform a mop-up exercise after the horrific crashes and flagrant breaches that occur daily. Our industry has seen enough of these failed attempts at reform,” Kaine added.
The TWU submission calls for, “A new, mandatory, system … to address the root cause of the crisis on our roads. The system should require safe standards of work, including fair supply chain payments for operators and workers and safe and fair work and contractual conditions.”
It added: “For any system to make a proactive difference, economic and contractual supply chain pressures must be addressed.”