Union seeks one-strike rule for bad operators


TWU says trucking companies should be removed from the industry if caught underpaying drivers

Union seeks one-strike rule for bad operators
Talking tough: Michael Aird wants businesses immediately expelled from the construction sector if they breach their obligations.

 

Tip truck operators should be booted out of the industry immediately if caught underpaying their drivers, dumping illegally or failing to maintain their vehicles, the New South Wales branch of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) says.

TWU NSW secretary Michael Aird has demanded a ‘one strike and you’re out policy’ in the wake of a recent illegal asbestos dumping that left a 50m trail of asbestos near homes at Chester Hill in Sydney’s west.

Aird claims dangerous practices in the construction sector are being ignored.

"Dangerously low rates of pay, cowboy operators and a total lack of regulation in the tip truck industry creates a cocktail for dumping, disease and disaster," Aird says.

"If the State Government wants to tackle the scourge of illegal dumping then they need to ensure that everyone involved in construction – from the billion-dollar head contractors right down the chain – knows that they’ll be kicked out of the industry if caught dumping illegally, overloading, underpaying minimum rates or not maintaining their tip trucks."

Tip truck owner-driver and TWU member Phil Ramondino says it is getting harder for honest operators to secure work.

"When I price a job for a client, my price includes the cost of properly dealing with the waste and asbestos at the recycling site, never overloading and safely maintaining my truck. But relentless demands from head contractors has led some dodgy operators to undercut minimum rates and then stay profitable by breaking all the rules," he says.

"It’s a recipe for disaster and it’s driving the good guys who play by the rules out of business."

Aird says safety standards are not being enforced and there is a lack of operator auditing.

"We need some backbone from the Government to crack down on these mobs," he says.

Aird called for a review of the tip truck sector last year to determine the effectiveness of existing regulations and safety standards.

At the time, he claimed some operators were running phoenix operations to avoid exiting debts and liabilities, including paying owner-drivers.

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