Drivers are paying a high price
EVERY day, heavy vehicle drivers are following the rules, compliant to the regulations. Yet they are still apparently the target for the industry's problems.
In the ACT, TWU members in the waste industry have stared down their management about overweight garbage trucks.
At any inspection station, pull a truck over the scales and the authorities will fine the driver when the truck measures as overweight.
Drivers offered the management of a local waste transport company the chance to help them be compliant with weight rules and were advised that non compliance was not a safety issue.
Drivers who were likely to face the kicking from compliance-minded authorities took the trucks off the road until they received assurances that the company was installing equipment that allowed a driver to monitor the weight.
I recently fronted the government inquiry into the issues faced on the WestConnex site in Sydney. WestConnex is one of the NSW Government's biggest road construction projects.
Drivers in one particular company have faced overloading issues and more. We are concerned that fatigue breaks were not being taken or not being recorded or monitored in compliance with chain of responsibility laws and more.
We also found evidence of wage theft with underpayment of 35 employees. The company did rectify the issues by back paying employees around $80,000 but now around 20 owner drivers and 40 employees are short around $500,000 because the company has gone under.
Drivers are facing the reality of being pushed into having to be responsible for dodgy practices, bad maintenance, bad loading, waiting times, the lies of management from companies all through the supply chain. Drivers are losing jobs, pay, and their lives.
Right now, members and the TWU face the anger of employers through fines and other criminal sanctions when it comes to bargaining for better conditions and better pay.
We all know the system is broken. We have been saying this for years. We have a plan to change that in transport.
We all know businesses have too much power, work is insecure, we have the threats of contract changes hanging over our heads constantly, undercutting is growing and growing and the government has attacked our right to fight and to strike.
This is why the TWU and it's members will continue to work to change the rules.
For a truck driver to provide for their family it does not need to be that difficult to get behind the wheel.
For drivers we need the whole supply chain to be accountable from the board room down.