Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon, said hundreds of Australians die and thousands more are injured in truck crashes each year, devastating families, communities and workplace.
“Truck drivers share the roads with everyone else. That’s why the safety of truck drivers matters to everyone on our roads.
“Truckies are the backbone of the country. It’s a great job, but too many truckies are being pushed to breaking point and beyond by big transport clients, with retail giant Coles the worst offender.
“Coles is using its dominant market power to strangle the transport industry with dangerously low rates of pay, impossible deadlines and constant pressure, forcing truck drivers to push the envelope on safety.
“That means more fatigued truckies on the roads, driving rigs which aren’t being properly maintained. A shocking 40% of surveyed drivers in the Coles supply chain have had to skip essential maintenance because of economic pressures.
“To put it simply, Coles is driving down road safety.
“It’s time for these corporate bullies to be made accountable for the impact they have on people’s lives.”
Adelaide truckie Carlos Narciso commented, “These days the clients like Coles are always demanding more and more for less from truckies. It’s almost impossible to drive to Coles’ tune and remain compliant with all the laws, but they don’t seem to care.”
TWU SA/NT Branch Secretary Ray Wyatt said mountains of evidence collected over twenty years from coroners, cross party inquiries and independent experts show a direct relationship between pay and conditions for truck drivers and safety on our roads.
“Research has found that every 10 per cent more that drivers earn in pay is associated with an 18.7 per cent lower probability of crash.
“Forcing drivers to work faster and longer might sound like efficiency to a faceless bean counter, but to everyone else who uses the road, it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Tony Sheldon said that the action was part of the TWU Safe Rates campaign which in the run up to the election on September 7th will be asking politicians from all sides where they stand on ending the lethal squeeze on truckies and tackling the unfettered corporate power of the big bullies like Coles.
“If companies like Coles won’t take their road safety responsibilities seriously, then the community has to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’.
“Safe Rates is a matter of life and death and TWU members and supporters deserve to know where politicians stand on this critical issue,” concluded Tony.
Members of the community can sign up to the Safe Rates campaign at www.saferates.org.au.