Crumby work and lit­tle dough

Drivers raise is­sue of work­ing con­di­tions

Big Rigs - - NEWS -

DRIVERS have de­scribed con­di­tions push­ing them to the brink in a re­cent re­port of work­ing con­di­tions for NSW Tip Top drivers on the ABC’s 7.30.

In the pro­gram, drivers – who risked their liveli­hoods by speak­ing out – said they faced long hours, low pay and faulty equip­ment to make ends meet.

“You feel like you have to work just for your sur­vival be­cause you’re go­ing broke,” driver Graeme Wong told the pro­gram.

“That’s when it be­comes re­ally hard, be­cause you don’t have a choice.”

An­other driver said he was “afraid that some­one is go­ing to die”.

That, the Trans­port Work­ers Union pro­claimed, is un­ac­cept­able.

The Fed­eral Govern­ment has “aban­doned” the truck­ing com­mu­nity and left it in a dire sit­u­a­tion that could lead to a driver’s death, the union said in the wake of the show air­ing.

“The Fed­eral Govern­ment has failed a hard-work­ing com­mu­nity by re­fus­ing to reg­u­late the terms and con­di­tions which these drivers op­er­ate un­der,” TWU na­tional sec­re­tary Tony Shel­don said in a state­ment.

“They have been aban­doned by a govern­ment which tore down an in­de­pen­dent tri­bunal which was aim­ing to fix these reg­u­la­tory gaps while in­ves­ti­gat­ing the risks to safety on the roads.

“Mal­colm Turn­bull and Michaelia Cash must be held ac­count­able for this.”

The 7.30 re­port showed that with­out proper leg­is­la­tion drivers were left to fend for them­selves in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Tip Top, al­legedly leav­ing some $1000 a week out of pocket.

Some drivers were even forced to sell their trucks, while oth­ers faced bank­ruptcy.

Tip Top a sub­sidiary of As­so­ci­ated Bri­tish Prod­ucts, is ex­pected to re­port more than $2 bil­lion in profit.

“The Fed­eral Govern­ment sided with ma­jor busi­nesses at the top of the trans­port sup­ply chain over the small busi­nesses at the bot­tom,” Mr Shel­don said.

“They have stood by and al­lowed these wealthy clients to fi­nan­cially squeeze owner drivers and cause the de­struc­tion of fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties through deaths on our roads.”

TWU NSW sec­re­tary Richard Olsen said the 7.30 story high­lighted the dis­par­ity within the truck­ing com­mu­nity and reaf­firmed the union’s fight to de­liver a fairer go for all drivers.

“The NSW In­dus­trial Re­la­tions sys­tem pro­vides pro­tec­tions to some owner drivers only, while oth­ers are left to the sav­agery of price-goug­ing clients,” Mr Olsen said.

“We will con­tinue to fight for these drivers and are seek­ing a meet­ing with the NSW Trea­surer to have a mi­nor sec­tion of the law amended so that bread de­liv­ery drivers can have min­i­mum pro­tec­tions and a reg­u­la­tory body to turn to.

“It is clear there is a need for a fed­eral body which can pro­vide the nec­es­sary reg­u­la­tory pro­tec­tions to drivers.”

Tip Top was not avail­able for com­ment by the time of pub­li­ca­tion.

You feel like you have to work just for your sur­vival be­cause you’re go­ing broke.

— Graeme Wong

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

UNION FIGHT: The TWU has said drivers needed fur­ther sup­port.

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