TWU OPINION: Casualisation Hurts on Job Training

The Logan Reporter, by Richard Olsen, 5 July 2017

A TRAINGING PRIORITY: On the job training lacks when drivers are employed casually.

A TRAINGING PRIORITY: On the job training lacks when drivers are employed casually.

I WROTE in the past on one of the major issues for drivers, job security and casualisation.

A Sydney University Professor, John Buchanan has previously stated that the problem of casualisation is entrenched not just in our industry but across the nation’s workforce.

Many, particularly young drivers entering the industry, are at risk of being employed casually.

It leads to a range of issues, not just the missing out of entitlements like paid holidays and the ability to get a mortgage and get ahead.

It also leads to a lack of training on the job. Concerning for one of the most dangerous industries in Australia.

Staff casualisation can in effect mean that we have plenty of people on the road who have been through the Heavy Vehicle Competency training, but, the TWU knows through Macquarie University research that while those existing training and assessing courses can assist in raising “risk awareness” for heavy vehicle drivers, they are not sufficient to keep drivers and other road users safe.

There is a vacuum in the training of drivers across the whole of our industry.

Casual drivers for example are not exposed to the skills and professionalism of other drivers on the job every day, so cannot learn “on the job”.

We know too that permanent drivers are missing out as well.

Can we look to government to help out here? I doubt it. In NSW for example the granting of licences is a traditionally bureaucratic process, the government have basically washed their hands of future training once a licence is approved.

This is a profit driven industry, and this means that the costs associated with ongoing driver training may account for low participation rates across our industry. For many of the smaller operators, driver training becomes a luxury that they cannot afford.

With the important role that heavy vehicles play in the transportation of freight and passengers across the states and across the nation, the TWU knows that it is crucial for driver training and education that a mutual approach requiring industry and individual organisations is needed to address the whole of life learning and development needs of drivers.

This mutual approach must also include the expertise of existing drivers who experience life on the road every day.

The TWU have the support of industry for Bluecard, a transport industry WH&S and skills programme, which today is the only industry-wide certification available in the heavy vehicle sector.

It is one option.

We are talking to governments, we are talking to the industry, we hope someone is listening. There is an urgent need for a coordinated industry wide approach to address the industry wide responsibility for road safety.

Drivers who can learn for life are then driving to live.

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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.