TWU breathes fire over ACCC price fixing warning


Competition watchdog tackles Frank Black over opinion piece

TWU breathes fire over ACCC price fixing warning
Frank Black

 

The Transport Workers’ Union has called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to withdraw a letter to Frank Black highlighting concern over the competition implications of an opinion piece in Owner Driver magazine that he wrote.

Black’s April column is in a similar vein to many others on the subject of rates and mystery attends the reason this item by the owner-driver representative on the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA’s) general council has drawn regulatory fire.

Black, who has TWU support, had stated his position on drivers maintaining their rates during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.


Read about Frank Black’s position on ATA matters, here


The letter adds: "Contravention of the cartel provisions of the CCA [Competition and Consumer Act 2010] is a criminal offence and carries serious criminal and civil penalties, including up to 10 years in jail for individuals, and heavy pecuniary penalties for corporations."

The TWU has written to the ACCC demanding it withdraws the letter and instead sets up an inquiry into the financial squeeze on drivers.

"This is an outrageous attack on free speech and an attempted cover up of the fact that drivers are under pressure from wealthy, powerful clients," TWU national secretary Michael Kaine says.

"Frank in his column pointed out that drivers are being forced into dangerously lowering their prices and instead of looking into the clients creating this problem, the ACCC is going after drivers.

"We demand a full apology and an inquiry into the real problem: the financial squeeze by major retailers, manufacturers and oil companies.

"Frank like all hard-working truck drivers has literally pulled Australia through this pandemic crisis.

"He wrote in his column about having to take on extra work in case work dried up altogether and having to miss his grandson’s first birthday as a result.

"The response of the ACCC in going after a frontline essential worker in this way is heartless."

The opinion piece can be found here.

The ACCC letter to Black and the TWU letter to the ACCC can be found here.

 

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