Sheldon responds to SARTA letter

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon has issued a statement following SARTA executive director Steve Shearer’s letter to Owner//Driver criticising the TWU’s motives in the Safe Rates debate

Sheldon responds to SARTA letter
TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says the opposition to Safe Rates has hurt drivers as well as transport businesses.


"SARTA [South Australian Road Transport Association] has failed its membership by doing a U-turn and opposing Safe Rates just as it was about to make a difference to the industry," says TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon in a statement emailed to Owner//Driver.

Sheldon was responding to extracts from a letter SARTA executive director Steve Shearer sent to Owner//Driver, which was published on July 18.

"SARTA has opposed putting responsibility for safe and sustainable rates of pay onto the major clients at the top of the supply chain. This is despite the fact that SARTA clearly supported the concept behind Safe Rates and acknowledged the link between pay and safety as recently as September 2014.

"The question which must be asked therefore is why the association changed its support and opposed Safe Rates at this critical moment.

"SARTA, NatRoad and the ATA [Australian Trucking Association] all support putting more pressure on owner drivers and employee drivers through fines and monitoring. But they oppose addressing the root of problems of sustainability and safety in trucking which a system of Safe Rates would tackle.

"By attacking this system they have also opposed mandating payment for owner drivers and transport operators within 30 days of completing a job.

"This opposition to Safe Rates has hurt drivers and transport businesses by forcing them to continue subsisting on meagre margins while wealthy clients such as Coles turn billion-dollar profits.

"The move will also devastate the families of truck drivers and other road users killed and injured in truck crashes who pay for this squeeze with their lives."

To read Steve Shearer’s letter in full, see the ‘Your Say’ page of Owner//Driver’s August 2016 edition.

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