Truckies highlight system pressure

AS State Secretary of the Transport Workers' Union I can recount numerous horror stories about the intolerable conditions that truck drivers across the country have long had to endure on a daily basis.

Many of us know only too well the unsafe practices that stem from truck drivers being forced to speed to meet impractical and dangerous deadlines imposed on them by clients.

And all too often it is more convenient - and far easier - to point the finger of blame and responsibility at truck drivers.

It is far more expedient, for those retail giants who own the supply chain, to deny any responsibility in the wider scheme of things.

This is why it is up to us as members of the union movement to bring to the attention of the public the connection between pressures from retail giants such as Coles and the unsafe practices forced on drivers that can often lead to tragic results.

It is crucial for the union movement to emphasise that this challenge is part of a wider systemic issue, an issue that reflects an ailing system that is well below acceptable working standards.

On Wednesday, May 30, this is was exactly what we, the TWU, did.

I was joined by hundreds of truck drivers and officials of the TWU in a march through Sydney's CBD to the Coles store in World Square to try to highlight the enormous pressures that the retail giant imposes on truckies.

Analysis of a major national survey of truckies across Australia has provided a damning indictment of the squeeze Coles places on truck drivers and their entire supply chain, leading to tragic consequences for every Australian road user.

A recent survey revealed that hundreds of truck drivers singled out Coles as among the worst offenders when it comes to pressuring truckies in their supply chain.

A majority of them admit to feeling the pressure to drive too fast.

The results are alarming to say the least and also showed that an overwhelming number of drivers in the retail supply chain have considered leaving as a result of client pressures.

Our hope is that the more light we shed on a crippling system that creates impossible working conditions, slowly and surely, we will begin to draw the kind of public understanding and support that is so badly needed.

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