Opinion

Visible failures when it comes to being paid

payment times

TWU members across the country are standing together to demand safer and fairer industry rates and conditions for all workers. Together, we continue to build a powerful voice for all transport workers.

The voice is needed because wealthy companies at the top of supply chains continue to make big profits by pressuring the costs in transport. We want to turn this around. We have climbed out of the busiest season of the year for the industry and we still have uncertainty for owner operators when it comes to being paid fairly.

For an employee or owner driver the best peace of mind is knowing that today’s load is properly paid for, that the truck is safe and you are properly rested.

If we have any hope for a safe future on our roads, we need those in power to act now. We need a system based on good policy that ensures that the clients become accountable for their continual demands for lower cost contracts.

The new year is well under way and the clients who use our industry continue to place an unfair squeeze to ensure their bottom line is ok, whilst drivers remain under immense pressure. Operators are subsisting on tight margins, operating very close to or even below cost.

Time and time again, the need for accountability across the entire supply chain and the setting of proper rates of payment and payment times has been proven to lead to safer roads with fewer accidents, and it is shameful that here in 2021 we’re still having to campaign for it.

It’s distressing that the Federal Government are producing only half measures when it comes to payment legislation. The new law, the Payment Times Reporting Scheme is the classic example of the half measures offered for the treatment of issues in our industry.

Payment times must be 30 days or lower, but they are not. There is no fail-safe mechanism that ensures that those that do the work, are able to be properly compensated and on time.

The financial squeeze for owner operators is still unregulated, the reality is that the scheme will not adequately hold to account the vast majority of wealthy companies at the top who make those who transport their freight wait up to and even over 120 days for payment.

The ongoing visible failures of the Federal and State Governments in their duty of care towards our industry is why we fight. It’s why we need to stand up to those that want to do too little to alleviate the pressure on the drivers that keep the transport industry moving.

The result of this failure is serious, we see transport companies going under and we see transport workers paying with their lives and livelihoods. The TWU is putting companies, governments and members on notice. The arrogance and incompetence of government and some companies needs to be challenged.

Good jobs that allow transport workers and operators to support their families instead of constantly struggling is worth the fight. Join your union and join the fight.

  • Richard Olsen is the NSW State Secretary, Transport Workers’ Union.
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