The call comes as two truck drivers died yesterday, one when his truck veered off the Logan motorway leaving a devastating scene and another in a head-on collision between two trucks near Wilton.
The deaths of drivers and the horrific nature of the crashes show the importance of an announcement this week by Coles to contract work to Toll, which will make road travel safer, says TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
The Coles announcement will see the retailer moving significant parts of its retail work to Toll in Queensland and Victoria. A final decision will be made regarding retail work in South Australia. Toll has made commitments to hire drivers already carrying out this work for other companies, once skills and standards tests are met.
“Yesterday was a devastating day for two families and the trucking community. What we need is a focus on the entire transport supply chain. This is why we want to see major companies taking the move Coles has done in choosing transport operators with the best practices, excellent safety standards and fair working conditions for their transport needs. This will ensure quality jobs in transport and safer roads,” said Kaine.
“We have been fighting for many years to ensure retailers have the highest standards in their supply chains to ensure safety is the number one priority. Coles have engaged in a constructive manner in this process over recent years and the announcement is a significant move in the right direction,” he added.
“All retailers need to adopt the highest standards – because livelihoods and lives depend on it. Coles is indicating with today’s move that it is not prepared to risk safety in transport for short term commercial gains," Kaine said.
In May Coles signed an agreement with the TWU to make its transport supply chains safer and to ensure safety and fairness in its on-demand economy work.
Trucking is Australia’s deadliest industry with a recent Monash University study highlighting the health and safety hazards for truck drivers. The study states truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than any other profession.
A report by the National Transport Commission said practices by the retail industry affecting road transport “can play a direct and significant role in causing hazardous practices”. It adds: “There is solid survey evidence linking payment levels and systems to crashes, speeding, driving while fatigued and drug use”.
The TWU has also signed a charter with Woolworth’s which allows for supply chain auditing and plans to improve safety.
Aldi continues to refuse to acknowledge its role in making our roads safer and has launched a federal court case to stop truck drivers and the TWU from protesting and speaking out about rates and safety in its supply chain. Hearings in the case are set for April.