TWU wants election to be referendum on RSRT

Union wants voters to find out which politicians support the Road Safety Remuneration before casting their ballot

September 6, 2013

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has cast the federal election as a referendum on safe rates for truck drivers and the future of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon’s speech to this year’s Freight Week conference urged voters to find out which politicians support the rate-setting tribunal before casting their ballot tomorrow.

The union has been travelling the country recently as part of its safe rates campaign to ask election candidates to sign a pledge supporting the RSRT.

"I encourage all voters to check out the safe rates website to see which candidates support safe rates and safer roads, and vote accordingly," Sheldon says.

Labor introduced the RSRT in 2012 and gave it the power to set rates and remuneration-related conditions for truck drivers throughout the supply chain.

The Opposition has questioned the need for it and says it will "urgently review" it if the party wins office.

"While we are pushing for the tribunal to toughen up, [Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott has publicly questioned the very reason for the tribunal’s existence," Sheldon says.

He says evidence from coroners, parliamentary inquiries and academic research over more than 20 years has shown a link between the rates of pay for truck drivers and road safety.

"Unrealistic deadlines and demands from major retailers and other big clients pressure truckies to drive when they’re fatigued, to drive faster than they should and to push the envelope simply to stay afloat," Sheldon says.

"This sort of pressure is putting the lives of truck drivers at risk – along with the lives of every other road user."

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