The group will meet politicians across the political divide to demand support for a road safety watchdog and its first ruling setting safe minimum rates for drivers.
“Since the beginning of this month we have had 18 people killed in truck crashes. Behind that number are families, friends and communities left devastated. If we are serious about ending this carnage then we need to tackle the cause of the crashes: pressure on drivers to speed, drive long hours and delay maintenance to their trucks,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
The move comes ahead of the new rates system, which will address pressure on drivers by ensuring they get paid minimum safe rates to cover all their work, including time spent queuing and unloading. The system will hold major retailers to account for the rates by auditing their contracts to see they allow for their goods to be delivered safely.
“The control these retailers have over our transport industry is seeing confusion and fear among transport operators and drivers. We are here today to say it is right and fair that drivers are paid these rates and right and fair that our roads are made safer. Retailers must stop putting profits before people,” Sheldon added.
Owner driver Frank Black said the new rates were needed to make the industry safer and more sustainable. “Drivers are tired of working long hours and being put under constant pressure for little return. We have fought long and hard for these rates. It is time for them to be paid,” he said.
The Union is pushing for safe minimum rates to be included across the transport industry at the Tribunal. Charles McKay, a cash delivery employee, said there was a need for accountability among clients so that drivers are not put at risk because of cutbacks to safety. “This is about safety and people’s lives. Profits just can’t trump that,” he said.