The Driver Exchange program will match drivers who have temporarily lost their jobs with industries where there has been a surge in demand.
The Driver Exchange program will match drivers who have temporarily lost their jobs with industries where there has been a surge in demand.

VTA program to help drivers who’ve lost their jobs

THE transport industry has responded magnificently to support the Australian community and workers and operators in the supply chain as the impacts of the coronavirus spreads throughout our economy, says Victorian Transport Association chief executive officer Peter Anderson.

He said recognition of the industry as an essential service was now widespread with communities openly appreciating the role of transport in maintaining supplies of food, water, clothing, medical supplies, petrol, waste and recycling recovery and other items that were the staples of our lives.

“But while some sectors of our industry are busier than ever, others have experienced a downturn as parts of our economy are progressively shut down to contain the spread of the virus,” he said.

“This has created an imbalance in the supply of drivers and vehicles, which the VTA is keen to correct to keep transport workers in employment, and to keep supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential retailers fully stocked.

“The VTA has therefore established a Driver Exchange program to match truck drivers and transport workers that have temporarily lost their jobs with industries where there has been a surge in demand for drivers.”

Mr Anderson said the program will create a pathway for companies to effectively exchange drivers, based upon their needs.

He said the focus of the Driver Exchange was to keep drivers working by encouraging resource sharing within our industry, and to maintain efficient supply chains.

“We are calling for expressions of interest by operators with excess drivers and by operators who are in desperate need of drivers,” he said.

“The VTA will assist in matching the requirements and ensuring that there is a smooth transition of drivers from one company to another.”

At a practical level, he said it was expected drivers would take Leave Without Pay from their principal employer and work on a monthly basis as a casual within the other company.

The background of the driver would be documented by a third party in Logical Staffing Solutions to enable a smooth, seamless and cost-effective transition.

“We understand that some drivers will be expected to provide their labour carrying different freight at probably different times and perhaps at different rates,” he said.

“As always, the safety and responsibility for the drivers would always be paramount.

“It is important to note that this crisis won’t last forever which is why it is critical that the transport industry keeps its most important assets – its people – busy and working.

“Transport will be in even greater demand when the crisis starts to ease, and our people are essential for the recovery.”

To register your interest and learn more, visit the VTA website or call the Association on 03 9646 8590.

Mr Anderson gave his sincere thanks to Logical Staffing Solutions and Transurban for their support of this initiative to keep our drivers working.

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