Tip truck overhaul promised by Daniel Andrews after spate of accidents

Herald Sun, by Alex White, 13 August 2017

Tip truck drivers are in line for a pay overhaul. Picture: David Smith

Tip truck drivers are in line for a pay overhaul. Picture: David Smith

TIP-truck drivers could see a pay-by-the-load system replaced with hourly rates on government projects amid rising accidents.

Transport Workers Union delegates were told the Andrews Government would overhaul the current pay system on major projects such as the level-crossing removal project and Tulla widening.

The pledge was made by Premier Daniel Andrews at the delegate conference on Saturday and

Government spokesman David McNamara confirmed the promise.

“We don’t apologise for supporting hard working truck drivers, who are working their guts out helping deliver our multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects,’’ he said.

“Minimum rates will mean drivers won’t have to drive long hours with huge loads just to make ends meet — boosting safety on worksites and on our roads.”

It comes after at least five fatalities and dozens of accidents involving tippers in the past 18 months.

The tip-truck industry overwhelmingly operates on a pay-by-the-load system — instead of hourly rates — which provides incentives for drivers to adopt unsafe practices like working dangerously long hours, illegally overloading trucks, and breaking road rules.

The TWU has publicly warned authorities about the increasing risks and vowed a change in pay would help stamp out unsafe driving practices among drivers rushing on the job.

Transport Workers Union secretary John Berger welcomed the news.

“Tipper drivers currently work without certainty regarding income, conditions and hours and are vulnerable to exploitation,” he said.

“They struggle to make truck repayments, maintain the vehicle, feed the family and put the kids through school and — out of desperation — make the decision to break road rules to get the next load.”

The most recent accident on record involved a fully-loaded tip truck which smashed into a packed tram in Parkville that resulted in 14 people being hospitalised.

The cause of the accident is still under dispute.

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© 2016 Transport Workers' Union of Australia.
Authorised by Tony Sheldon, TWU National Secretary, 388-390 Sussex St, Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia.