Truckies say industry needs massive shake-up

NEWS that truck drivers were listed as being the biggest demand as COVID-19 sends unemployment rates soaring struck a chord with Big Rigs readers.

A survey by the National Skills Commission Taskforce of five industries experiencing relatively strong demand during the current economic downturn found 11 per cent of employers were recruiting and nearly a third of them were having, or expecting to have, difficulty filling vacancies.

While many drivers cited different reasons, they were all in agreement that the industry needed a massive shake-up.

Stephen Flemming said drivers wanted “better rates, better wages, [to be] treated with a bit of respect not only by employees but customers too would go a long way”.

Neil Graham suggested the $22 an hour rate might be why experienced drivers didn’t want to drive anymore.

“The award wage needs to be upped and then maybe then the industry might start retaining drivers,” he said.

“Also the rules around OH&S needed looked at, I had a problem with my truck a while back but the customer wouldn’t let the mechanic on site to fix it where he was safe, the customer expected me to move the truck off site so he could fix it on the side of the road with cars going past.

“This one rule for them and one rule for us needs to stop.”

Co Moore hit out at companies who he said have treated plenty of good operators as a “disposable resource”.

“Build a reputation on looking after your employees, attract more employees,” he said.

Beggys Beggs said there was something else at play here and wanted drivers to be able to take their kids in trucks.

“How is a kid supposed to fall in love with trucks if they can’t go in one?” he asked.

“My PlayStation screen in school holidays and weekends was the windscreen of a truck. ‘Get out and open that gate boy’, ‘get that shovel and start digging’, ‘get on that forklift and work it out’. That’s how you get kids to want to be truck drivers.”

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