It’s time to participate
Love them or not, joining an association or union is the most effective way to get your industry concerns across
IHAVE HAD A FEW REPLIES from the associations and groups I sent last month’s three issues to. NatRoad says it is working on these issues and that anyone wanting them fixed should join NatRoad. I have replied saying not all will join or feel recognised or supported by some or any group for that matter, and our aim is to better represent those who work on the road full time.
I will work with anyone who will help us win something to improve life on the road, but thus far, and please correct me if I am wrong, we have not solved these issues, let alone many others – though I agree, not without trying. Road Freight NSW also wanted me to join. It has said the issues are worthy and it will look at them and get back to me.
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has supplied a detailed and supportive reply, saying all issues are worthy of support, are on their agenda, and that I have helped focus that from a driver’s view. However, the VTA says getting a national rest area strategy – no matter how needed and valuable – will be hard work.
Transport Women Australia agrees and will support the three items as and where they can and are happy to work with us. I am still waiting on more replies and will keep you updated.
By all means, any of you who agree with the items and want something done, if you are a member of any group, put these things forward to them.
If you are not a member of anything except the brotherhood of truckies, then you should join a group.
I do not care which, but as you will surely recognise, simply complaining about it while you eat dinner will not get anything fixed. However, I do agree with all the associations on one specific point; they can only act on members’ concerns if they are told of them and they will only do so if there is some support and/ or pressure to get things changed.
No one person can solve the industry’s issues. We can surely try and should not be dissuaded from having a go, but without some numbers behind you, it is bloody hard work for often little gain and much pain. Even the associations struggle to fix things and they do not live on the road, they do not get the fines and they do not risk their lives. But unless their members take part and actually participate, you are again back to a small number who do all the work and everyone else whinges when they have not fixed the problem.
So what are you going to do? Throw your hands up in the air and give in? Of course not, or at least I hope not.
Join and participate – NatRoad, the Transport Workers Union, Road Freight NSW, the Victorian Transport Association, your other state group and even the Truck That Australia Drivers Club. But do something!
Will the authorities make changes without us telling them what is needed? Will they far more likely make changes when the public, road authorities or the press jump up and down and scream about what bad people we are? Will those complaining have any idea of life on the road or what we give up for them to have their food, clothes etc.? Will they care? Not likely.
So how will things change? How will we get heard? You have to do something more than complain. You have to not just do your job well and safely for you to get home safe. You do not have to just act professionally on the road with all those who see you as a big bad truckie and have never been taught to share the road with you. If you want things to change, you have to contribute.
When you read this I should be at the Convoy in the Park Truck Show at Donnington, England, as part of my Churchill Fellowship trip.
From there I will travel to the United States speaking to drivers about trucks and road safety and aim to finish the trip at the Great America Trucking Show in Dallas before coming back and getting back to sorting the next Truck Right Industry Vehicle (TIV).
I had an email from a TIV supporter saying “enjoy the trip”. I will see and learn a lot, but may well come back and recognise we do it well in Oz. In so many ways we do it well here, but with your help and a little bit of effort, we could do it even better. It is up to you.
I have just received the following and it only shows that if we try and help educate vanners, there is some worth in the effort.
“Dear Rod, we have just come back from a shorter holiday into the outback of Queensland. Luckily we had received your survey just before and followed your advice on communicating with our truckies.
“We always did that before, but not the way you described the process of overtaking by trucks. It worked beautifully, safe for both sides and the truckie himself was more patient.
“We always said, let us know when you are ready to overtake and we will slow down as soon as you have pulled out. In all the years we have been travelling we slowed down before the truck had pulled out and that must have been terrible for the driver, although well meant.
“Your survey was enlightening and sure will be a good tool for all caravanners.”
I left the writers’ names out as they have not given me permission to use them, but the letter makes the effort very worthwhile.
“If you want things to change, you have to contribute.”