Frontline essential truck drivers and delivery drivers are doing it tough, with a survey showing one in three have lost hours, been stood down or made redundant.
The survey of almost 3,500 drivers shows over 40% have lost a fifth of their income and 36% are saving much less super or not saving for their future at all.
Many are concerned about their future with almost two thirds saying they are worried about losing their jobs, almost half stating they are worried they won’t be able to support their families and one in five stating they are worried they will lose their house.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the pandemic has heaped problems onto an industry already in crisis.
“Truck drivers and delivery drivers have been hailed as heroes of the pandemic as they have crossed closed borders and transported the essential food and medicines we need. But these workers are doing it tough because of a huge drop in income and they are worried about their futures as the recession hits. Transport workers who have been so essential in keeping our country going during the crisis now need our help,” he said.
“Standards in road transport have been appalling for too long and the pandemic has just made it worse. Transport workers have the highest workplace fatalities of any industry. The problems in transport stem from financial pressures from wealthy retailers and manufacturers which force transport operators and drivers to work long hours, speed, skip breaks and skip maintenance on their trucks. The Federal Government must start looking at this deadly dynamic and improve standards for these essential workers,” Kaine added.
One respondent to the survey said: “I have just enough money to cover 90% of bills and just enough food if I skip some meals.” Another said: “I’m finding it extremely hard. I’m getting behind in bills, stressed out, not eating, barely sleeping.”
A Senate inquiry into standards in transport which has been on hold because of the pandemic is expected to begin hearings again.
Trucking is Australia’s deadliest industry with recent official Government data showing an increase in deaths from truck crashes. Bureau of infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics statistics show that 901 people have died in truck crashes in the five years to March 2020.