Trevor Vale: ‘Disgraceful’ TWU used deaths as political pawns

Describing the use of crosses in Canberra by the union as a disgrace, Vale has called for detailed crash statistics

Trevor Vale: ‘Disgraceful’ TWU used deaths as political pawns
The 'Safe Rates' protest lead by TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon (pictured; right) went too far according to one truck driver.


Truck driver Trevor Vale has taken to social media to vent his frustration at the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), labelling its actions in Canberra as "an absolute disgrace."

Vale, whose heartfelt Facebook videos on Anzac Day and the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners have made him famous in the industry, spoke at length about the TWU’s use of crosses on the lawns of Parliament House to protest the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) and its Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (RSRO) - known as the ‘Safe Rates’ Order.

The truck driver says the union used "drivers who have passed in accidents … as political pawns".

"There’s no other way around it," he says, "you can’t stoop any lower than what you’ve done."

Quick to admit he’s not a union person, Vale says "there were some good things in Safe Rates but there was a lot of bad things – bad things that hurt owner-drivers."

Speaking to the TWU, he says its plan to introduce equal rates across the industry may have had positives but its agenda to attack the "small bloke" has "been caught".

"You reckon the owner-driver is going to spend the money he’s got to make his truck better," he says.

"Maybe you should have a look at all those crosses you put on the lawn… and maybe you should come clean with all the statistics and tell us how many people are represented on that lawn that work for big companies.

"I think you might be surprised… the majority of these are from big companies, big companies that are meant to have safe trucks.

"They haven’t been ripped over the coals for their safety practices – no, you just want to pick on the small bloke."

Stating that he is glad the RSRO has been abolished, Vale says the "owner-drivers of this country deserve a fair go, and now it looks like they might get a fair go."

However, he has a warning for the industry that the fight "isn’t over by a long shot".

"If the Labor government get back into power, they will bring the RSRT back into form," he says, "and that’s the last thing the trucking industry needs."

The TWU came out swinging after the parliament legislated the removal of the RSRT on Monday, with national secretary Tony Sheldon saying the decision will lead to "more deaths, more fatalities, and more owner-drivers and employees exploited."

The union says it will continue to battle for the tribunal.

"We’re determined to fight, and fight again to make sure this country has safe roads and people that can live, breathe, and work on our roads without the fear of economic pressure that your government has now put on their shoulders," Sheldon says.

Part of that fight has been directed at the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), which the TWU says has failed to meet truck drivers and the families of truck crash victims.

While the ATA has been in a series of meetings since the RSRT decision, including electing Noelene Watson as chairperson for a second term, the TWU has been protesting what it describes as the ATA’s opposition to "a solution to the crisis in trucking - despite supposedly representing the transport community".

The Trevor Vale video is available here. 



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