Tribunal must be given the time it needs: TWU

TWU takes issue with federal Coalition’s plan to review the RSRT if it gains office

May 21, 2013

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has taken aim at the federal Coalition’s plans for the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), saying the fledgling body should be given the time it needs to do its job.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon has criticised Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s pledge to urgently review the tribunal if he wins office.

He accused the Coalition of failing to take the issue of road safety seriously, adding that the tribunal represents the best chance to improve safety in the trucking industry.

"The tribunal was established to tackle the root causes of the lethal pressures on truck drivers – excessive client pressure, which result in dangerously low rates of pay, unpaid waiting time and impossible delivery schedules," Sheldon says.

"The Opposition policy on the RSRT is driven by ideology rather than the weight of evidence or a commitment to improve safety on our roads. But quite frankly, the Coalition’s approach seems to be put the interest of major corporations likes Coles ahead of the interests of the community."

Meanwhile, the FIRST Union today reiterated its call for a similar tribunal to be introduced in New Zealand.

The union’s Transport and Logistics Secretary, Karl Andersen, says the country’s government needs to reconsider its stance against introducing new laws.

"Our heavy vehicle industry is structured in a way that encourages unsafe practices. Many truck drivers are owner-operators and their margins are constantly squeezed, leading to drivers taking short cuts, running bald tires, breaking driver regulations, and in some cases using stimulants to get through. Fatigue is a very real issue for many drivers," Andersen says.

"Drivers work very long hours and face significant disruption to their family time. They shouldn’t also have to work in an unsafe environment and put themselves and others at risk."

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