Crumby work and little dough
Drivers raise issue of working conditions
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
UNION FIGHT: The TWU has said drivers needed further support.