12 October 2015

TWU wants international governments to follow Australia’s lead on addressing safety in the trucking industry.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is taking its case for action on improving safety in the trucking industry to a global audience, with an appearance before the United Nations.

The union is due to address the UN’s labour body in Geneva today to urge governments to work together to improve the lives of those in trucking.

The TWU plans to encourage governments to follow Australia’s lead, namely introducing legislation that led to the creation of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

The union says South Korea, US, Canada, Japan and New Zealand are among the countries looking at the Australian model.

Established in 2012, the RSRT has the power to mandate terms and conditions throughout the transport supply chain to improve the safety of employee and contractor truck drivers. The tribunal recently proposed the introduction of mandatory minimum pay rates for owner-drivers.

“Trucking is still in crisis in Australia but we have made important steps to tackle the problem with the setting up of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, which just recently set the first minimum safe rates for drivers in a draft ruling,” TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon says.

“But we need all supply chains – both domestic and global – to be held account for pressure in the system. This is why we need other countries to adopt safe rates to make the roads safe for everyone.”

The TWU’s appearance in Geneva is part of the meeting of the UN’s International Labour Organization, which is this week discussing health and safety in the road transport sector.

The outcomes of the meeting is designed to inform governments about what action is needed.

“Wealthy retailers and manufacturers around the world are demanding transport operators accept lower priced contracts with deadly consequences,” Sheldon says.

“It means trucks are not maintained and drivers are not paid fair rates to keep them safe. Safe rates legislation will help tackle this problem by holding those at the top of the supply chain to account.”

Extracted in full from Owner Driver.