Abbott's planned review of RSRT an 'insult': Forno

NSW TWU boss criticises the federal Opposition's stance on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

August 13, 2013

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is using the federal Opposition’s attitude toward the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) to urge truck drivers not to vote for the party at the election.

New South Wales TWU Secretary Wayne Forno has written to union members criticising the Coalition’s pledge to "urgently review the operation of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and the need for a further level of regulation".

The TWU and Labor believe the review is code for scrapping the tribunal, which was established under the current Federal Government in response to findings linking low rates of pay in trucking to poor safety.

"[Opposition Leader Tony] Abbott's review is an insult to the important job that thousands of our members do in delivering goods across Australia – he should not be rewarded with your vote for his hasty attack on transport workers," Forno’s missive to union members says.

In announcing its plan in May this year to review the tribunal, the Coalition claimed there was no evidence that the tribunal was necessary.

Forno is also telling TWU members other workplace rights are at stake should the Coalition take office.

"Other items at risk under an Abbott led-Government include: penalty rates and minimum award conditions; the powers of an independent umpire to oversee disputes between you and your employer; and your rights to be represented at work," he writes.

"We cannot stand by and allow the workplace conditions that we have fought tirelessly for to be stripped away in one hit. I hope members will be reminded of the risk an Abbott Government poses to their rights and conditions before they cast their vote come 7 September."

During a TWU protest outside one of Coles’ Queensland supermarkets last month, federal Labor MP Yvette D’Ath took the Coalition to task for advocating a review of the tribunal.

"They are going to scrap a tribunal that has been put in place to save lives and that is disgusting, absolutely disgusting. We cannot let that happen," D’Ath told truck drivers and TWU members in Redcliffe, north of Brisbane.

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