Pay linked to safety

New tri­bunal will fo­cus on truck driv­ers’ wages and work­ing con­di­tions

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels -

and make a ‘‘ Road Safety Re­mu­ner­a­tion Or­der to im­prove the on-road safety out­comes for driv­ers op­er­at­ing in that sec­tor’’ if it de­ter­mines that a ‘‘ sec­tor of the in­dus­try has poor safety out­comes as a re­sult of low re­mu­ner­a­tion’’.

The move to set up the tri­bunal comes as no sur­prise given the Govern­ment re­leased the Safe Rates, Safe Roads pa­per last year and es­tab­lished an ad­vi­sory group to help in­tro­duce the new le­gal body.

It fol­lows National Trans­port Com­mis­sion find­ings that driv­ers are some­times forced into risky work habits, such as speed­ing, work­ing long hours and us­ing il­licit sub­stances.

Trans­port Work­ers Union national sec­re­tary Tony Shel­don, who has long pressed for a Safe Rates tri­bunal, says it will make a dif­fer­ence.

‘‘ Truck­ing is Aus­tralia’s dead­li­est in­dus­try,’’ he says.

‘‘ For far too long, truck driv­ers, whether owner-driv­ers or em­ployee-driv­ers, have been squeezed by large and pow­er­ful clients to meet ab­surd dead­lines, to work for rates that are too low or to en­dure hours and hours of un­paid wait­ing.

‘‘ This re­form recog­nises that the con­cen­trated mar­ket power of the likes of the ma­jor re­tail­ers com­pro­mises safety and com­pels less pow­er­ful play­ers in the sup­ply chain to ac­cept rates of pay­ment that barely cover costs and places deadly pres­sures on driv­ers.’’

Shel­don says the tri­bunal will not re­duce com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘ This is a highly com­pet­i­tive in­dus­try and al­ways will be. This is about putting safety into the in­dus­try,’’ he says.

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