TWU protests for driver safety in Hobart

The union protested in front of a Liberal senator’s office against trucking safety mandates

TWU protests for driver safety in Hobart
The TWU has taken further action against safety mandates in Hobart this week

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and its truck driver members have protested in Hobart to demand safety reforms from politicians before the upcoming federal election.

A crowd of drivers congregated in Tasmania’s capital behind a TWU banner on Thursday morning, as the protest was a staged event part of the TWU’s national conference.

The protest began when TWU members clad in high-vis clothing met outside Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam’s office and handed over a letter for him that outlined the union’s problems with current safety measures and the Liberal party’s lack of truck safety regulations.

Both TWU national secretary Michael Kaine and Australian Council of Trade Unions Sally McManus spoke to the crowd.

While marching, the TWU members and truck drivers waved orange and black union flags.

"What we need is regulation from the federal government to lift the pressures in this industry so that truck drivers don’t have to work too long or too fast to make a living for themselves and their families," Kaine says.

"We want them to return home safely at the end of the day and ensure they aren’t caught up in the carnage."

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Liberal senator Duniam was apparently targeted by the TWU because he was one of three senators in 2019 who spoke to the federal parliament to oppose an inquiry into the safety of the road transport industry.

However, the inquiry still went ahead despite the coalition disagreeing with it at the time, as the committee handed down its final report in August 2021 after hearing from roughly 150 witnesses over two years.

The establishment of a tribunal from this inquiry has become a major talking point, as the TWU’s latest protest in Hobart signals a continued feud between the coalition and transport unions.

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