OPINION: Watched just like criminals
TRUCK drivers across the country are still being targeted as the cause of problems with safety on our roads.
Roadside enforcement and compliance aimed at drivers is being managed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) yet the NHVR do not appear to have any real authority over the boardrooms or company management who breach the Chain of Responsibility rules.
Legal proceedings appear to be the only enforcement measure.
For drivers, it is a non-stop attack.
Operation Rolling Thunder followed by Operation Shield means that drivers are continually being made to face the consequences of conditions forced upon them, while the employers responsible get away with it.
Drivers get more cameras on every highway, they are blamed for bad loading they don't get to control, fined for minor errors in the work diary and their every move is watched inside and out of the cabin.
Our members are telling me they have had enough.
They feel attacked from every angle, even from those who claim to represent them in Parliament.
Craig Laundy, reasonably new Federal Minister for the Workplace, has already declared war on workers. Mr Laundy is standing up for removal of penalty rates and encouraging the reduction of the corporate tax rate on big business.
I have my doubts that these measures will make things any better for drivers or their families.
Mr Laundy's government are refusing to take serious action on those who are responsible for the pressure faced by drivers every day.
We have the credible evidence that shows that drivers are not the cause for problems in the industry.
The pressure from clients directed at operators and drivers is creating situations where drivers have no option but to keep moving, while those forcing them to do this suffer very little consequence.
It's not hard to fix, yet a panic appears to have set in.
Budgets are being spent on technology to control a driver and every revolution of the wheels below them.
The employer associations are in charge of the safety guidelines and those in boardrooms are looking to silence drivers and the TWU through legal action.
These are not the actions that will produce balanced policy for our industry.
Let's look at how we can better help drivers on the road with better rest areas, better places to stop, eat and revive, better systems of payment, better deadlines and overall an industry that cares about the drivers who keep their loads moving.
These are some of the things the TWU and its members are constantly working for every day.