'Historic decision' paves way for safer roads

TWU labels passage of safe rates legislation "historic" and says it will improve safety and pay and conditions for truckies

March 21, 2012

The move to establish a tribunal to set pay rates for truck drivers is a "historic decision", according to the Transport Workers Union, which says the reform will improve road safety.

Speaking in response to the passage of the Road Safety Remuneration Bill yesterday, TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon says all Australians can look forward to safer roads and truck drivers can count on improved pay and conditions.

Sheldon, who was joined today in Canberra by families of truck drivers to mark the occasion, thanked politicians who voted for the Bill, which will create a tribunal to set pay rates for employee drivers and owner-drivers.

All Australians can reflect today that their parliament has made a historic decision, which will make the roads that millions travel each day safer," Sheldon says.

"A campaign that has been building for almost 20 years can finally celebrate this landmark legislation that will make the roads that all Australians travel on safer, ensure fairer pay and conditions for truckies and finally begin to hold major retailers like Coles to account for the safe transportation of their goods.

The Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) owner-driver representative, Frank Black, says the tribunal will offer hope to drivers being ripped off.

"Each and every day I speak to truck drivers who tell me of the pressures from clients to meet dangerous deadlines, guys who can’t afford to take their trucks off the road for essential maintenance, as their rates of pay are so low," he says.

"Now truckies will finally have a place to go when they are not getting treated fairly by clients or by trucking companies."

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