TWU SAYS: Angry drivers need solutions
IS IT any wonder truck drivers are tired and angry with their lot when despite a horrific spate of truck crashes which have already claimed the lives of too many drivers this year, governments have consistently refused to put in place sound policy and safety regulation that keeps transport workers safe in their workplace?
Not only that, but truck driver deaths are ignored as workplace deaths - instead they are counted as road toll.
Driving is Australia's deadliest job yet the current Federal Government, who hope to get back in, have refused to acknowledge the problem and deal with the issues that are killing our colleagues.
Dodgy clients, dodgy employers, dodgy maintenance, dodgy schedules and even roads not fit enough to drive on mean that truck drivers and other road users are paying with their lives while those politicians who have no idea about life on the road, do nothing to support the transport workers who are bringing them the fuel for their personal Comcar limousines, the wine for their dining rooms and the food for their families' tables.
I note that last December, the ALP national conference backed a system of safe rates to hold companies to account and ensure that transport workers were safe at work.
Since the Federal Government came to power in 2013, more than 1061 people have been killed in truck crashes across Australia. The Turnbull government undid the work of many years, designed to support drivers, by trashing the tribunal that was designed to provide a safer and fairer industry.
In April of 2016 your guarantee of 30-day payments and minimum rates was scrapped. Now wealthy clients are looking to pinch more money out of your wallet and force you onto the road for less and less, because despite fuel prices and the cost of living, you need to be getting an income and the wheels need to keep turning.
We hope the pollies understand that drivers are on our roads 24/7 sleeping in their cabs, perhaps only seeing their families one weekend in two, working gruelling schedules. We know that truck drivers are still under pressure, and that can't end well.
Drivers have been killed in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland. In March alone, 27 people died in truck crashes and the number keeps climbing. Where the hell is our royal commission? Where the hell is our watchdog that will ensure that drivers get home safe and well paid to their families?
There have been too many deaths, too many injuries, too many drivers pushed too hard for too long, and too many owner drivers who have gone out of business or teetered on the brink of going bust.
Even if you work for a company that pays you well and has safe conditions, you can only be as safe on the road as those around you. We must all work together to lift standards right across the industry so that all transport workers get home safely and are paid a fair safe rate.