TWU: ATA and NatRoad are in denial

Sheldon says time to find long-term solutions to problems in trucking

TWU: ATA and NatRoad are in denial
TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says transport companies will continue to be bullied until enforceable standards are put back in place to stop clients from doing so.


The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says the Australian Trucking Association (ATA’s) contract checklist does not address the issues facing the transport sector.

The checklist, which was released earlier this week, was published along with information about new protections for small businesses against unfair terms in standard contracts.

The union accuses ATA and the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) of aiding and abetting forces that led to the escalation of certain problems in the industry, including late payments for drivers.

TWU bemoans both ATA and NatRoad’s opposed to a fixed-term payment proposition by opposing "a system" that mandated this proposal, referring to the now-inoperative Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

"The association opposed enforceable standards which guaranteed truck drivers payment for work within 30 days," a TWU statement states.

"This system [the 30-day payment rule] would have made transport businesses more sustainable, allowing them to pay owner-drivers and employee drivers better rates and maintain their fleets."

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says the actions of ATA and NatRoad not only threaten the sustainability of transport companies and owner drivers but also jeopardise the lives of other road users in case of truck crashes.

The union cites the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) figures that show a 6.7 per cent increase in fatal crashes involving articulated trucks to make a case for more efforts in improving the existing practices.

"The association has chosen to avoid making clients responsible and instead is trying to skim off the wages of drivers to make a buck for their members," Sheldon says.

"Now it is trying to demonstrate it is doing anything for transport companies by coming up with a pathetic checklist for companies when signing contracts.

"But the reality is transport companies will continue to be bullied by clients until enforceable standards are put back in place to stop them doing it.

"Pressure on trucking leads to fatigued drivers under pressure to take risks.

"It also leads to companies cutting corners in maintenance.

"But even on this the ATA and NatRoad are in denial: they continually try to explain away the horrific number of deaths and injuries on the roads by comparing today’s statistics with statistics from over 30 years ago when many cars were not even equipped with seat belts."

Sheldon says ATA should represent its members in a "real and demonstrable way" and seek "long-term solution to problems in trucking".

"It must stop acting [as an] apologist for wealthy clients," he says.



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