“There is a cost for the actions taken by these wealthy manufacturers and retailers but at the moment it is just working families, small businesses and the rest of the community which is bearing the brunt,” said Sheldon.
“The owners of Carlton United Brewers continue to make massive profits, with $AUS5 billion for SABMiller in 2015. These profits make SABMiller CEO the highest paid CEO in South Africa. Meanwhile in my own industry wealthy clients dictate low cost contracts which pressurise truck drivers to speed, drive long hours and skip mandatory rest breaks. This results in a massive death toll on our roads in horrific crashes. This has got to stop. Clients must be held accountable for the devastation they are wrecking in our communities,” he added.
Sheldon spoke at the CUB picket ahead of a seminar in the brewery organised by the Victorian Transport Association. He said there was a need for an end to exploitation of migrant drivers, who were untrained and given licences by dodgy truck driving schools.
“People should not be allowed to drive trucks because of loopholes in our visa system and poor standards in our licensing system. Safe transport businesses which employ well trained experienced drivers simply cannot compete with businesses which hire untrained migrants and pay them below safe award rates,” he told the seminar.
Since the start of October 19 people have died in truck crashes, including eight truck drivers. A Safe Work Australia report last month showed truck driving is Australia’s deadliest job with 583 drivers killed between 2003 and 2015. Transport companies are also under pressure: a Safe Work Australia survey of transport employers shows one in five admitted to breaking safety rules to meet deadlines – this compares with just 6% of employers in other industries.
In the 10 years to 2014 over 2,500 people died in truck crashes.
Click here for Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon’s speech at the Freight Outlook Seminar, Wednesday, 9 November 2016: http://www.twu.com.au/Home/Campaigns/Safe-Rates/Protecting-Your-Most-Valuable-Asset–People/