TWU plans cooperative approach to prevent RSRT repeal

Transport Workers Union says it will work with federal Opposition and minor parties to stop repeal of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

November 14, 2013

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has used recent deaths involving truck crashes to argue it will work with the federal Opposition and minor parties to prevent any government attempt to axe the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon says six deaths from six incidents involving trucks this week shows the pressures on drivers to speed or skip rest breaks to meet unrealistic deadlines.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose government did not support the creation of the RSRT, intends to review the tribunal.

"It’s time to end pressure on drivers through action in the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, which sets safe rates of pay and conditions in heavy vehicle transport," Sheldon says.

"The Abbott government is reviewing the tribunal with a view to closing it down. If this occurs we’ll see even tighter deadlines, worse maintenance and more pressure on our drivers."

Sheldon says the TWU will work with Labor and the minor parties in the Senate to block any repeal of the RSRT.

Once the new Senate takes effect on July 1 next year, the Federal Government will need to rely on the likes of the Liberal Democratic Party, Independent Nick Xenophon, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Palmer United Party and the Motoring Enthusiasts Party to pass legislation if it cannot gain the support of Labor or the Greens.

Labor, Xenophon, the DLP and the Greens all support retaining the RSRT.

"We’re seeing more and more deaths as a result of speeding, fatigue and poor maintenance – all caused by employers setting lunatic deadlines and keeping trucks on the road too long," Sheldon says.

"And that can only mean more truck crashes and deaths on our roads."

The incidents Sheldon has referred to include a collision between two trucks on the Great Eastern Highway in Western Australia where a driver was killed.

In another incident, a man died when his car collided head-on with a truck on the Pacific Highway in New South Wales.

A pedestrian died after being hit by a truck in Osborne Park in WA on November 11, while a cyclist in NSW died when a truck hit him in inner western Sydney on November 12.

A truck driver was killed when his heavy vehicle rolled over on the Carnarvon Highway in Queensland on November 12, the same day a 31-year-old man died when his truck crashed in the north of the State.

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