Stand together for a fair future
A Transport Workers Union member comments, “We need to stay together and work like a close family, in real unity, to ride through this together in real unity”.
We know people are scared for their jobs and their safety, we also know that solidarity among transport workers is how we get through this chaos.
We are more assured than ever before that transport workers are among the essential workers in our communities, keeping our shelves stocked and our goods and the public moving.
We also acknowledge the job being done by healthcare workers, supermarket workers, first responders and teachers.
We still need the help for transport.
The availability of loads is decreasing, diesel costs are still high, Transurban is still raising the tolls on their roads with no significant plan in place to help truck operators who currently provide over 40 per cent of the company’s revenue.
Jobkeeper is in place, a triumph for many transport workers who called on government for help, but there are still those who are missing out including many small businesses that are running as owner drivers.
The financial pain in this industry is still real.
When the crisis first hit, truck drivers worked to keep open vital transport routes but they faced many obstacles.
Truck stops were closed, due to restrictions on restaurants and eating areas.
They faced a lack of amenities like open public toilets, shower facilities or the lack of a decent hot meal.
Support from Senators Glenn Sterle and Tony Sheldon, both former transport workers has seen the industry stand together to ensure the federal government and the truck stops and petrol stations allowed drivers to get the rest and food they needed on the road.
We know that there are still problems, and it is up to our industry to stand together to continue the fight for a safer and fairer workplace for transport workers.
It’s our opportunity now to learn from this crisis, we have the chance to examine how we have done things up to now and how we might do them after the crisis is over.
We have established the essential nature of transport, we have held a roundtable with the major players and associations, operators, industrial associations, politicians and industry experts who have provided solutions.
The industry has come together and is asking the Federal Government to urgently intervene to help save jobs and businesses in the industry.
Our industry needs proper help with subsidising the wages of workers and the owner drivers all who have been impacted by a large fall off in turnover.
We are also looking for relief from the banks for operators in financial distress.
We are looking to keep the transport industry viable.
We must still stand together.
What we cannot do is go back to business as usual, an industry beset by problems that included insolvencies, the highest numbers of worker deaths and low returns for operators and businesses.
This is what shamefully marks our industry out.
This has got to end.
We must stand together to lift standards for the industry through good regulation.
The days of voluntary codes and hoping for clients to do right by transport are over.
Safety must be the number one priority and drivers and businesses must be allowed see a decent return for their hard work.
We have a plan, will you join the push for a better industry following the pandemic?