Fatigue management doesnt go far enough: TWU

By: Jason Whittaker


Transport Workers Union (TWU) Federal Secretary Tony Sheldon says impending fatigue management regulations do not address the root cause of

Transport Workers Union (TWU) Federal Secretary Tony Sheldon says impending fatigue management regulations do not address the root cause of fatigue.

In an address to attendees of the Chain of Responsibility Conference, Sheldon criticised the omission of pay rates in new chain of responsibility measures to be introduced with new fatigue regulations on September 29 . While supporting the regulations, he says the TWU is "fighting for more".

He says drivers will breach the laws because clients are continually pushing down pay. Unless measures are introduced to deal with pay rates, Sheldon says drivers will have no choice but to drive excessive hours just to make a living.

"True chain of responsibility looks at the flow of money into the industry…It decides how to ensure that an owner-driver does not have to make the choice between earning enough money and being fatigued," Sheldon says.

The TWU boss says fatigue regulations will fail unless governments work with the industry to mandate a sustainable rate of pay to stop clients from "driving profits down".

"All of the driver fatigue management plans in the world can be in place but if a driver has to face the horrendous decision between safety and decent pay the system is simply not working," Sheldon says.

And in an indication transport companies will come under pressure from the unions to comply with fatigue measures, Sheldon told the conference "TWU members are effectively the safety police of the industry" and will continue to pursue "rogue operators" in order to keep drivers safe.

The TWU is pushing for national chain of responsibility measures that institute a system of pay rates for owner-drivers. The union launched a $500,000 campaign on pay rates following its annual Federal Council meeting in Brisbane.

The union is proposing a national chain of responsibility framework to the Federal Government. It has delivered a package to the Government which, as well as advocating sustainable pay rates, also calls for seamless occupational health and safety laws, industrial laws and road laws.

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