“We are operating in a highly sensitive environment where margins for transport operators are getting tighter. Death and injury tolls are already far too high. Into this mix we have stevedores continuing to make matters worse by turning the screws and increasing the financial squeeze. This move is deadly and destructive and will ultimately hurt the trucking community and other road users,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“We have consistently called for an end to this money grab by stevedores. They are clearly operating in a manner free from regulation and are greedily gouging from transport operators and drivers which have little power to resist. The authorities have failed the transport community. The Federal Government is sitting on its hands waiting for the ACCC to finish its report on the issue, which stevedores continue their brazen attacks,” Kaine added.
The road safety watchdog torn down by the Federal Government in April 2016 had begun an investigation into risks to safety in transport at the ports.
“By now we would have had a full investigation into this sector which would have exposed the financial squeeze by the stevedores, including late payment to transport operators, and its deadly consequences. By now we could have had an Order in place regulating this industry and ensuring that safety at the ports are the number one priorities. Instead we have an imbalanced system which is unfair and unsafe, while those with the power to address it look the other way,” Kaine said.
In June last year, it was revealed that rent charges for stevedores at NSW Port had dropped, exposing the claim by stevedores that infrastructure fee hikes were necessary because of increased charges.