The TWU has serious concerns that drivers will be shut out of the ATA General Council elections, after the ATA’s announced voter registration just three weeks before it closes on January 31.
Despite only recent publicity about voter registration and the election, the ATA has confirmed to the TWU that voter registration in fact opened a year and a half ago.
In a response to TWU queries, the ATA said voter registration had opened in July 2017 – but this was only made public in a press statement on January 4, 2019 – three weeks before voter registration closes. The ATA insists it “published a story” about the election and voter registration in its newsletter in December, which consisted of a two-sentence mention under the headline “other news”.
The 2017 election was the first online election with voter registrations lower than the previous election in 2015. Just 76 truck drivers registered to vote in 2017, with only 56 drivers voting.
“What the ATA is doing is shameful. It has conducted its elections in a vacuum of information, failing to tell drivers they could have registered at any time to vote over the past year and a half. Now with just a few weeks to go before voter registration closes and most drivers on annual leave, there is a potential for even less drivers to participate in this election,” said TWU Acting National Secretary Nick McIntosh.
“This is further proof of the misguided direction that the ATA is going in. We believe the ATA is deliberately conducting its council elections in a bubble in order to stop genuine independent voices from getting elected. It does not want dissenting voices that will hold it to account for opposing a system that was delivering 30-day payments to owner drivers and for refusing to commit to binding standards to address the financial strain on our industry that stems from low cost contracts dictated by major clients. This financial strain leads to high numbers of insolvencies and high numbers of deaths and injuries precipitated by poor maintenance of trucks and drivers pushed to work long hours, speed and skip their rest breaks,” he added.