TWU leads safety movement following FedEx proposition

The TWU is urging the federal government to install a standard-setting transport body

TWU leads safety movement following FedEx proposition
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine

Transport workers and industry groups in Canberra are continuing to call for urgent action on federal government commitments to establish a standard-setting body in transport as this year’s truck crash death toll exceeds 100.

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has warned a FedEx proposal to strip newly engaged owner drivers of rights like sick leave and superannuation and pay gig-style piece rates at just $2.50, would lead to more people being killed on Australian roads.

Last year, the TWU says thousands of transport workers across major trucking companies including FedEx were forced to take strike action over attacks on their job security, winning protections like caps on outsourcing.

Transport workers and industry groups in Canberra last week met politicians to call for immediate support for an independent body to set minimum standards and end the Amazon Effect of cost-cutting and unfair competition smashing transport supply chains.

FedEx’s plan to bring in an underclass of drivers akin to exploitative Amazon Flex will demand drivers using their own vans and fuel to deliver 93 parcels to customers’ homes in a 10-hour shift – roughly one delivery every six minutes without breaks.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine says the transport industry would become even more dangerous if FedEx were to go ahead with the proposal.

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"This attempt by FedEx to force drivers to deliver a parcel every six minutes is a deadly proposition," Kaine says.

"This year alone, more than 100 people have died in truck crashes, including 26 truck drivers. Cost-cutting from wealthy retailers, manufacturers and oil companies at the top of supply chains and competition from Amazon Flex is ramping up pressure on transport workers to drive fatigued and cut corners on safety."

Kaine says FedEx is also proposing to strip workers of rights like collective bargaining, cost recovery, sick leave and superannuation.

"Transport is spiralling. The time is now for the federal government to act on its commitment to an independent standard-setting body, before other major transport companies are forced to slash pay and conditions in an attempt to stay in the game," Kaine says.

"We’re here in Canberra to work with the federal government and crossbenchers to get this life-saving trucking reform off the ground quickly and with the support and input of industry experts."

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