TWU tells senate inquiry business should be held accountable

THE Transport Workers' Union yesterday at a Senate inquiry has called for major businesses which use transport companies to be held to account over the carnage on the roads involving truck crashes.

The union detailed how low-cost contracts given out by billion-dollar retailers end up squeezing transport operators and forcing drivers to skip breaks, drive for longer and faster with over loaded vehicles in a stressed and tired state.

"For too long truck drivers and transport operators have carried the can for what is going wrong in our industry. Drivers are killed in truck crashes, they are jailed when crashes occur and they are blamed when taking risks to meet the economic demands of companies...," said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.

"The reality is no driver wants to take these risks but the top of the supply chain is making it happen by squeezing everyone below them. Until we address this the carnage will continue."

The Senate inquiry heard from:

•      One driver who worked in a transport company where loads are not strapped down, drivers are not allowed to take breaks and trucks are allowed on the roads with lights not working and tyres worn.

•      A small transport operator whose contracts are driven down so low he has had to sell newer truck models for older ones to keep his business going.

The TWU also highlighted the attacks by the federal government on the road safety watchdog for trucking, the TWU say the government has signaled it wants to scrap it.

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