Pro­tec­tion needed for driv­ers

Big Rigs - - BIG RIGS | COLUMNS - RICHARD OLSEN TWU NSW State Sec­re­tary

REDSTAR and Hari Om are com­pany names that will stand out in the 2018 sec­tion of the his­tory books for the trans­port in­dus­try in Aus­tralia.

These are com­pa­nies that have not prop­erly con­sid­ered the fu­ture of those who drive in the in­dus­try and in Redstar’s case, where the com­pany went into liq­ui­da­tion, no worker should be plunged into un­cer­tainty, es­pe­cially as they were days be­fore Christ­mas.

Work­ers at Hari Om, a com­pany run­ning a fleet of de­fec­tive trucks that were pulled off the road by the Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices in New South Wales also face an un­cer­tain fu­ture. Where is their pro­tec­tion from the loss of in­come at the hands of own­ers who refuse to main­tain their trucks?

Where is the pro­tec­tion for driv­ers and their fam­i­lies from a com­pany that leaves work­ers at the time of writ­ing in a po­si­tion of not know­ing where the next pay­ment or job is com­ing from?

Show­ing the spirit that ex­ists in the trans­port in­dus­try, com­pa­nies like Toll, Lin­fox and ACFS stepped up to the mark and of­fered to take on the driv­ers im­pacted by the col­lapse and help them en­sure a con­tin­ued fu­ture for their fam­i­lies.

In NSW Driv­ers can con­tact the TWU on 1800 729 909 for more in­for­ma­tion in Queens­land they can con­tact 1800 804 533. Our job is to be with the work­ers and their fam­i­lies as they work out what comes next. The ques­tion still re­mains, who is re­spon­si­ble. It goes with­out say­ing that safety and care of driv­ers in this in­dus­try is a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity, but it is the driv­ers that are do­ing the heavy lift­ing.

This in­dus­try is in cri­sis not be­cause driv­ers are caus­ing it, it is in­stead the com­plicit and lazy na­ture of the fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments in this coun­try who will not pro­vide proper and ad­e­quate pol­icy that en­sures driv­ers are safe at com­pa­nies like Redstar and Hari Om.

Our stance is that the Redstar col­lapse, the is­sues at Hari Om and many com­pa­nies that are in sim­i­lar po­si­tions is proof of the cri­sis in the in­dus­try and the need for reg­u­la­tion. We need strong pol­icy ac­tion from Pre­miers, Road and Trans­port Min­is­ters and the Prime Min­is­ter. We need it be­fore an­other driver dies, we need it be­fore an­other fam­ily loses out.

We need a po­si­tion from peo­ple like the In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Min­is­ter that shows em­pa­thy and care for the work­ers in Aus­tralia. We need more than po­lit­i­cal state­ments be­cause they do not keep a fam­ily in their home, with food on the ta­ble.

At the time of writ­ing, an ASIC re­port shows that 469 com­pa­nies en­tered into ex­ter­nal ad­min­is­tra­tion in the trans­port, postal and ware­hous­ing in­dus­tries be­tween July 2016 and June 2017. The main rea­son for the in­sol­ven­cies was in­ad­e­quate cash flow. At the time of writ­ing 469 peo­ple have been killed in truck crashes since the shut down of an in­dus­try watch­dog try­ing to make it right for the Trans­port In­dus­try.

Let those fig­ures sink in, think of the fam­i­lies who sup­port our trans­port in­dus­try and join the fight for a bet­ter fu­ture.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

GONE: The main rea­son for the in­sol­ven­cies, such as Redstar, is in­ad­e­quate cash flow.

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