Tip Top trucks deemed defective after inspections reveal safety issues

ABC News, by Elise Worthington and Alex McDonald, 1 December

All Tip Top-owned bread delivery trucks at its western Sydney depot have been issued with defect notices after an inspection by road safety authorities.

Key points:

  • Roads & Maritime Services inspect vehicles at Tip Top’s Chullora depot
  • 25 defect notices issued on 46 inspected trucks
  • Offences include defective breaks and defective seatbelts
PHOTO: A Tip Top truck enters Chullora depot (ABC News)

PHOTO: A Tip Top truck enters Chullora depot (ABC News)

Police and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) officers inspected 46 trucks and issued 25 defect notices — three major, 15 minor and seven formal warnings.

All six of the vehicles owned by Tip Top were deemed defective, the others belonged to contracted owner/drivers.

“Four speed limiter downloads were taken by NSW Police,” an RMS spokesperson said.

NSW Police also issued six penalty notices, including two for defective seatbelts, one for defective brakes and one for an expired driver’s licence.

PHOTO: A tyre on a Tip Top truck that is so worn the wire inside is showing. (Supplied)

PHOTO: A tyre on a Tip Top truck that is so worn the wire inside is showing. (Supplied)

Tip Top has downplayed the defects, saying it worked “amicably” with RMS on the inspection.

“Two distributor vehicles presented with issues that required immediate attention including bald tyres and a seatbelt not retracting,” it said in a statement.

“The balance of issues was minor, including a fading number plate and a small crack in a light.”

 

Contract drivers raised concerns over rates of pay

PHOTO: Graeme Wong says he worked 15 weeks in a row with only two days off as a Tip Top driver. (ABC News)

PHOTO: Graeme Wong says he worked 15 weeks in a row with only two days off as a Tip Top driver. (ABC News)

At least a dozen Tip Top delivery drivers, employed as independent contractors, told 7.30 it was common practice for drivers to work for months without a day off because they could not afford to employ relief drivers to cover their runs.

The investigation revealed repeated pay cuts, rising maintenance costs and pressure to deliver more bread meant some trucks were not being regularly serviced.

Two Tip Top delivery drivers say a replacement truck with a faulty speedometer and fuel gauge had been provided by a Tip Top supervisor.

They said the defective vehicle, which belonged to another contractor, was used when other trucks were being repaired.

Tip Top has denied providing a replacement vehicle.

In a statement the company said it was conducting a comprehensive internal investigation into the matters raised by 7.30.

Tip Top said it conducts “daily roadworthiness checks” on “random” vehicles.

“Any issues identified are logged within the internal reporting system and followed up promptly,” the company said.

 

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Authorised by Tony Sheldon, TWU National Secretary, 388-390 Sussex St, Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia.