We're storming the capital for safe rates, TWU declares

TWU launches new truck convoy campaign to push for fixed pay rates for owner-drivers

March 30, 2010

The Transport Workers Union has begun rallying truck drivers to join a planned 3,000-strong convoy to Canberra to push for a new pay rates scheme.

The TWU officially launched its new campaign on March 26 after members voted unanimously to converge on the nation’s capital on June 20.

TWU NSW Secretary Wayne Forno hopes the convoy will put pressure on the Rudd Government to fast-track the introduction of a ‘safe rates’ scheme whereby owner-drivers will be paid a fixed minimum rate.

"We mean business," Forno says.

Labelling the number of truck deaths as avoidable, Forno says the Government has the power to make roads safer by ensuring drivers are paid enough to stop them from working unrealistic deadlines.

"We want to bring home to our nation the terrible consequences of poor pay and conditions and the urgent need for a system of safe rates," he says.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) in 2008 argued there was a link between safety and rates of pay in the trucking industry and called for an end to incentive-based pay such as the cents per kilometre rate.

It found economic factors gave drivers an incentive to drive fast, work long hours and use illicit drugs.

Since the release of the report, the union has campaigned heavily to promote reform.

Industrial Relations Minister Julia Gillard last year established a group of industry representatives to look at how to implement the NTC’s recommendations.

"We call on the Federal Government to support us and to implement safe rates, and the cross benches and the Coalition to support us to ensure this legislation is passed before any more people die needlessly," Forno says.

The convoy is not only for truck drivers, with Forno saying a BBQ lunch will be held after drivers arrive in Canberra.

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