Opinion

Stopping the hit on your wallet

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It’s good to be back. Big Rigs is the magazine for transport workers and a strong forum for discussion of the issues that you face on the road every day. The TWU is a proud contributor. The pandemic has created a situation we have not seen before. For some in our industry, work is busier than it has ever been, for others they are finding new jobs. The industry needs no extra pain yet we still see corporate greed overtaking corporate responsibility alongside indifference from the Federal and State Governments.

We’ve fought off attempts by employers taking advantage of the uncertainty: turning around attempts to cancel owed pay rises and signing documents that protect workers until bargaining next year. Too many workers are being forced to use their accrued and future leave or forced to dip into their retirement savings.

We have necessary border closures, but for the transport industry it was a rough start. We wrote to Premier Berejiklian seeking clarity and assurances on how transport workers moving freight between the States would be dealt with. We wanted to ensure that rest areas and truck stops would remain open.

We have shone the spotlight on the failures of government when it came to the issuing of permits and saw changes that have made it easier for transport workers to deal with the bureaucratic red tape at Service NSW.

However, the hit on the wallet for owner-drivers continues. Costs recovery is an ongoing issue. Some owner-drivers are stuck on a rate of $27 that has not been changed since 2006. This rate is currently so far below where it needs to be that the TWU and our members are now working towards lifting that rate of pay to today’s standards. We have begun “the fight for $40”.

We have seen the debacle of icare, the worker’s compensation scheme in NSW that is failing NSW workers. It is possibly the worst case of wage theft by an Australian Government. Transport workers who have paid into the scheme are asking “where’s the f#%@ing money gone?”

The NSW Government are still dipping into your pocket to fund private companies like Transurban who run toll roads.

This September 12, Transport workers are protesting with a Tolls and Road Tax Rally fighting back against the double dipping road tax that impacts transport workers, road tolls. You are wearing the cost of the NSW Government gouging money from public roads through toll roads, fuel, rego, wages, worker’s compensation and more.

The NorthConnex Tunnel in the north of Sydney opens soon, adding to the list of expensive toll roads. Heavy vehicles MUST use it or face a $191 fine and will be paying $23.20 every trip. It will affect what you earn every week. Being forced to drive on a toll road that will cost you a truckload of cash – where is the fairness in that?

Take a stand with the TWU for a better deal. Register to take part of the tolls and road tax campaign, it’s open for all. Click here or speak to a TWU official or delegate about taking part. Call your union on
1800 729 909.

Richard Olsen is TWU NSW State Secretary

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