Truck drivers face the same challenges as farmers because of pressures in the market over unfair pricing. Similarly there is no minimum floor for prices and both groups are left to the savage instincts of wealthy retailers like Coles which continually drive down costs.
“The pressure this puts on the transport system is the reason trucking accounts for the highest workplace deaths, chronic fatigue, stress, mental health problems and among the highest suicides and bankruptcies,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
“Farmers deserve to have this level of support but so do drivers. Instead the Government opposed the safe rates system which would have delivered minimum rates for struggling drivers while achieving safer roads,” he added.
The Government’s own reports released recently show that road transport has the “highest fatality rates of any industry in Australia” with 12 times the average for all industries. The reports also show the link between road safety and the pay rates of drivers and that the safe rates system would reduce truck crashes by 28%.
So far this month 16 people have been killed in truck crashes across Australia. In April, 24 people were killed in truck crashes and in March 25 people died in truck crashes.
“My brother’s death devastated our family and we don’t want other families to go through what we are going through. The Government needs to admit there is a problem with pressure on drivers and provide a solution,” said Sue Posnakidis, whose brother John Posnakidis was killed in truck crash in Adelaide. The driver was inexperienced, fatigued and was driving a truck with faulty brakes.