The transport industry is in unanimous agreement on how we can make road transport safer, fairer and sustainable.
Other industry bodies have joined the Transport Workers Union, including clients, employer associations and gig economy companies in calling for a level playing field.
The voice was loud enough that Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke announced the Federal Government’s intention to empower the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to set fair standards for the entire transport industry.
Under this proposal, the FWC would be tasked with making transport a more sustainable industry for all.
That is good news for owner-drivers who will be given greater strength to seek fairness and cost recovery of doing the job.
It also means that in the face of disputes, there will be access to dispute resolution that means driver voices can be heard.
It’s time. The TWU has had enough of owner-drivers being forced to carry the costs of doing business for wealthy supply chain clients.
There is an urgent need for supply chain accountability to ensure cost recovery does not become a struggle for small business transport operators, whether those costs be Transurban toll roads, the cost of fuel or more.
This need for reform was highlighted with the kick in the teeth provided by Toll Group to their owner operators, who cart groceries for Woolworths.
In September, as diesel costs increased, owner- operators driving out of the Woolworths DC in Minchinbury took their cost pressure concerns to Sydney Toll Group general manager, Steve Innes.
Toll is providing only 10 cents extra a pallet. Toll’s idea of cost relief is worth around 1 litre of diesel at today’s prices per 22 pallets on a single trailer.
It covers the first two kilometres of a driver’s trip. It is even less than the cost of a litre of milk sold at Woolworths. We will speak with members to determine which way forward to be able to resolve this matter.
Now is the time for the transport industry to get together behind solutions that mean a fair way forward.
It is about acknowledging and implementing recommendations that were suggested by all in the industry in the Senator Sterle Inquiry into road transport.
Transport workers can have a seat at the table, when decisions are being made that affect the industry, and the work that you do.
Lifesaving, industry reform can be a reality, we need your voice, we need to continue to work together to save truck business and truck driver lives.
Our plan is to make this happen; we need all the industry to get behind a safer and fairer future for all.
Richard Olsen is TWU NSW/QLD State Secretary