Elephant in the room
The Banking Royal Commission is weeding out dodgy advisers, so how about one on the trucking industry?
THE GLOVES ARE off. It’s time we demanded a Royal Commission into the trucking industry to establish the truth and the depth of ‘wage theft’ in this country. If there is one thing we should have learnt by now, with the advent of the Banking Royal Commission, it’s that it is the one true way of getting to the bottom of the problem. Put simply, it will be closer to getting a resolve that will finally get the remuneration every truck driver deserves.
Clearly there is no other mechanism to fully chase down the endless rorting and rip-off this industry is so protective of. It’s endemic, it’s far reaching and it’s relentless. It is the elephant in the room and it simply must stop. It has gone on for so long that it is as if it’s not only expected, it is compulsory.
Us drivers know it, the Transport Workers Union knows it, the employer associations promote it and the employers bank on it. Let’s just lay all our cards on the table and let the facts and data fall where they do and let those guilty be dealt with as they would have us dealt with if the roles were reversed. It’s time and it’s well overdue!
There are so few meeting the minimum requirements under the Federal Award, so very few, and that has to change – yesterday. After reading the direction Warren Clark of NatRoad is hellbent in pursuing, it is clear they have much more time and money from a much more willing financial support network than we are coming from, so far back down the field. So we have no choice but to insist on a Royal Commission.
We carry more freight per trip now than ever before, we spend more time working per week than we ever have, and we simply aren’t getting paid every cent that we are entitled to. We are never going to get together to support each other the way the employer bodies do, so we need help and we need it now.
Surely by now it must have become apparent of the difficulties involved in trying to entice a driver to come and work for you and drive your truck. It’s getting harder – but it doesn’t have to be.
What will it take to make it obvious for potential employers to realise that when they ask a driver about their history and a VicRoads printout and perhaps do a medical, maybe it’s time for all the good and decent companies out there, that perhaps are worth driving for, to put their cards out on the table.
Maybe they should put their employment records up as well. Show their ability to hold on to drivers, to put up their history of employing drivers over a long period rather than only focus on how many jobs the prospective driver has had.
Why don’t we discuss how many drivers the employer has employed over the last 12 months, two or three years? Because today there is more to employing a driver than just offering up a job.
Employment and employing good staff is a two-way street. How incredible is it when finding good staff is getting so much harder that the employer still wants to know so much about a potential employee, yet is loath to tell that potential employee the reason they should be happy to come across.
The question is: should there be more honesty in placing a ‘driver wanted ad?’
Heres’ an example of the contrary: “MC driver wanted, mechanical ability an advantage (because she’s an old banger); Melb/Syd/Bris but you can live anywhere (because you won’t get home much anyway); tautliner work when not towing the old flat tops, or maybe even the tippers or log jinker; paid a decent dollar while mobile (when stationary, not so much – if at all; Award wages mean we wouldn’t be able to get work off of our competitors.”
SA SPIN DOCTORS
You may have noticed we missed the deadline for last month’s column, so I hope you all didn’t just skim over, or worse still, skip reading the very important and incredibly significant words that were gathered together on the page this column normally graces. Why? Because it was extremely important that drivers everywhere witnessed the mindset and misguided beliefs of truck owners and their spin doctors.
How can anyone in trucking refute the need for more regular and more regimented roadworthy inspections in South Australia – and every other Australian State and Territory – so as to be at least equal if not better than New South Wales?
As they say in the classics, and as we have all read that other minion from the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) say over and over: “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” So how about they start getting their house in order because they have been very vocal and supportive of extra roadside interceptions of law enforcement so as to check and maintain the level of compliance among us truck drivers. Why rattle on about how unnecessary an annual roadworthy inspection would be in the great state of SA?
If we have to present in a drive-worthy condition daily/nightly, then surely we should expect the same of the trucks we are given, because currently there is an obvious deficiency in what is deemed roadworthy and safe, especially considering the huge increases in weight carrying ability, length laws and the increasingly dismal, suspension-destroying roads.
LOGBOOK APP THE GO
There have been an increasing number of emails received about work diaries of late. Much of it is from those trying to get their heads around the basic fatigue management 14-hour BS, and of course those still smart enough to hold firm and stick to the 12 hours.
There is so much angst about how to keep it all legal and tidy. After much learning, by using and testing, it comes as no surprise to those already in the know it is blatantly obvious that there is no better way or foolproof way of ensuring your book tallies up correctly at that crucial moment.
So the next time you are trying your best to stave off an infringement notice, and heavy fine, use the Logbook Checker in your smartphone apps. It is a little hard to use at first, but either find a friend that has used it and understands it enough to explain it to you. Or you can simply YouTube it and see just how easy it can be.
It is, without doubt, worth every cent to save you a small fortune in fines.
“We simply aren’t getting paid every cent that we are entitled to”