TWU survey points to deep driver fear and concern


Union’s Covid-19 probe points to falling income and pandemic response fears

TWU survey points to deep driver fear and concern
Michael Kaine

 

One in three truck and delivery drivers have lost hours, been stood down or made redundant, the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) reports a survey showing.

The survey of almost 3,500 drivers – Covid-19 crisis: road transport workers survey – shows 42 per cent have lost a fifth of their income and 36 per cent are saving much less super or not saving for their future at all.

"Many are concerned about their future with almost two thirds saying they are worried about losing their jobs, almost half stating they are worried they won’t be able to support their families and one in five stating they are worried they will lose their house," the union notes.

Alarmingly, at a time when Victoria is about to be isolated from mainland states due to a Covid-19 spike, there are serious issues being raised on pandemic awareness and the lack of preventive measures in the workplace.

The TWU reports 36 per cent of respondents say their employers haven’t taken appropriate measures against the virus, only 29 per cent says all work stations and vehicles were disinfected and only 14 per cent say they have received virus safety training.


Read about the TWU taking a strong line on wages, here


TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said the pandemic has heaped problems on an industry already in crisis.

"Truck drivers and delivery drivers have been hailed as heroes of the pandemic as they have crossed closed borders and transported the essential food and medicines we need," Kaine adds.

"But these workers are doing it tough because of a huge drop in income and they are worried about their futures as the recession hits.

"Transport workers who have been so essential in keeping our country going during the crisis now need our help.

"Standards in road transport have been appalling for too long and the pandemic has just made it worse. Transport workers have the highest workplace fatalities of any industry.

"The problems in transport stem from financial pressures from wealthy retailers and manufacturers which force transport operators and drivers to work long hours, speed, skip breaks and skip maintenance on their trucks.

"The federal government must start looking at this deadly dynamic and improve standards for these essential workers."

The union reports one respondent to the survey as saying: "I have just enough money to cover 90 per cent of bills and just enough food if I skip some meals."

And another said: "I’m finding it extremely hard. I’m getting behind in bills, stressed out, not eating, barely sleeping."

A Senate inquiry into standards in transport which has been on hold because of the pandemic is expected to begin hearings again.

 

 

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