Government commits to improving safety of transport workers

Friday, 12 June, 2009

The Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, recently announced that the government will work with the TWU and responsible employers to “make sure that drivers are paid for all the work they do”.

Commenting on the Deputy Prime Minister's statement, Federal TWU Secretary Tony Sheldon said it was time to put an end to the carnage on Australia’s roads where 280 people die each year from heavy-vehicle-related incidents: “Trucks make up 2% of registered vehicles on our roads but are involved in 22% of fatalities.

“We need to make sure owner-drivers and employees are paid for their waiting time, for increases in fuel prices and for proper maintenance on their vehicles so they are not forced to do ‘one more load’ and push the boundaries to make ends meet."

Speaking at ACTU congress, the Deputy Prime Minister said: “Australia’s truck drivers work hard to make a living. But they shouldn’t have to die to make a living. And we will be working on safe rates to prevent them from having to take that risk. We will make sure that payment methods and rates do not require drivers to speed or work excessive hours just to make ends meet.”

TWU Federal Assistant Secretary Michael Kaine said it would be a continued process of negotiation with government and industry on all issues: “This is a process which needs to be acted on immediately and we will be bringing up the urgency of the situation with both government and industry — this needs to be acted on now.”

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