MORE than 70% of drivers currently working for Coles have said in a survey that major retailers are the main cause of dangerous pressures in the industry.
The result comes from the Transport Workers' Union 2012 Safe Rates Survey which was completed by 950 truck drivers at truck stops, yards, depots and distribution centres around Australia and online.
National Secretary of the Transport Workers' Union Tony Sheldon has said the survey "sheds lights on an industry where drivers are pushed to the edge and beyond by big bullies like Coles".
Mr Sheldon said the finger was pointed squarely at big retailers like Coles as the survey highlighted pressures in "Australia's most dangerous industry".
Do you agree that major retailers are causing the pressures?
This poll ended on 20 April 2013.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Some key results from the survey:
- 40% of drivers in the Coles supply chain have delayed truck maintenance because of economic pressures.
- 47% of drivers surveyed are aged 50 years old or older, reflecting the serious ageing issues in the industry and the problems attracting young people into an industry with such pressures.
Mr Sheldon said the results reinforced what truckies were saying every day.
"It's the big retailers that are responsible for the squeeze on truckies and Coles are the most ruthless," he said.
"Coles want their goods delivered for the lowest price no matter what.
"But when you squeeze truckies day in and day out, forcing them to meet impossible deadlines and paying them dangerously low rates, you have a recipe for disaster.
"The results of this lethal squeeze are all too apparent - with hundreds of people tragically killed and thousands more injured each year in truck crashes."
One owner driver from Western Australia who completed the survey said it was the "likes of Coles who have so much control over the industry that are pressuring truckies to push or even break their limits".
"They're making the industry more dangerous for everyone," he said.
Mr Sheldon has a message for Coles, saying they should be working with truckies and the road transport industry to improve conditions and safety on the roads.
"Instead they are focussed solely on their bottom line and, together with their lobby groups, they are attempting to undermine any progress taken to improve the lot of truck drivers, such as the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.
"If Coles are willing to come to the table and offer some farmers a fair go then it's past time they did the same for truckies. These survey results show the scale of pressures in the industry and the sooner Coles choose to act, the sooner we can tackle the carnage on our roads and make sure that truckies get a fair go."