Sacked tow tuck driver takes on the RACQ

TWU and commercial media join tow truck driver’s fight for reinstatement

Sacked tow tuck driver takes on the RACQ
The RACQ is happy to defend its sacking of tow truck driver Murray French


A sacked tow-truck driver has won the support of his union and much of the general public in a bid to have the decision overturned.

Murray French was dismissed from the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) after failing to follow safety protocols when he towed a customer car around 400 metres – with the customer still behind the wheel.

He says the circumstances demanded the creative solution.

The paraplegic customer had stopped on a narrow shoulder of Brisbane’s busy M1 Motorway and was unable to safely access his wheelchair or exit his car.

French says he towed the vehicle to the nearest safe point for the man to exit – on a nearby off ramp.

His story was presented as part of national television broadcast A Current Affair on both Wednesday and Thursday. It was also the basis of a Transport Workers Union (TWU)-led protest at the RACQ’s headquarters yesterday.

But the RACQ is adamant that French is not the hero described by both the union and media.

It is standing by the dismissal, saying there were safer and more appropriate alternatives to the action undertaken.

"In dangerous situations such as these our drivers are required to seek assistance," RACQ executive general manager advocacy Paul Turner says.

"Unfortunately, in this instance, the illegal and unsafe action was undertaken by the driver before he made contact, as required.

"No assistance was sought, no advice was sought, and the driver attempted to cover up his actions after the fact. That is unacceptable."

French has made an application for an unfair dismissal remedy with the Fair Work Commission (FWC). Turner says the RACQ will be happy to defend the dismissal when the as-yet unscheduled hearing takes place.

"The RACQ is happy to discuss this issue in the FWC, as requested by the TWU," he says. "Unfortunately the TWU would rather invade RACQ’s Club headquarters with paid protesters."

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