TWU MEDIA RELEASE, 7 February 2017
The Transport Workers’ Union has criticised transport employer lobby groups NatRoad, ATA and Sarta for their opposition to improvements in rates and safety for drivers.
Comments in recent days in opposition to a Safety Summit focusing on solutions to the problems in transport showed how these groups clearly do no represent drivers but are a front for transport operators which rip drivers off, said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
One industry group bemoaned the “rhetoric about rates of pay”, ignoring the low pay among drivers and the fact that NatRoad and other groups are demanding even lower pay and allowances through a review of award rates.
“According to NatRoad, Sarta and the ATA there is no need for rates to increase for drivers. These groups also want us to believe that drivers are not under pressure and don’t need improvements to safety. But here is a fact that is not going away: one in three workers killed last year was a transport worker. That is by far the highest fatality rate of any other worker in Australia. We don’t hear these employers’ groups proposing solutions to this crisis – all we hear is their criticism of our efforts to address it,” Sheldon said.
“Last week we held a safety summit attended by drivers, academics and employers who are interested in putting an end to the horror statistics of deaths and injuries among drivers and who want to see those at the top of the transport supply chain held to account. We heard about research showing the long hours drivers are forced to work and how some cannot raise safety concerns for fear of losing their jobs. NatRoad, Sarta and the ATA might think this situation is ok but we do not. That’s why we campaign for improvements while they stand on the outside and criticise. This is about fairness for drivers and transport operators and safety for everyone on our roads,” Sheldon added.