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TWU disagrees with scrapping logbooks

The union says the move would ruin an industry already at breaking point

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) says the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) proposal to remove the drivers’ fatigue logbook is like putting “the fox in charge of the henhouse”.

The ATA recently proposed a Road Transport Act to scrap truck drivers’ fatigue logbooks and instead put employers in charge of monitoring driving hours.

But the TWU says this idea doesn’t represent the interests of drivers and displays no care towards road crashes and truck fatalities in road transport caused by pressure and fatigue.

The TWU also disagrees with the ATA’s submission to lower certification rules to allow transport businesses to claim they aren’t exceeding maximum working hours and to continue operating without safety standards scrutiny.

“Road transport currently has pressure from companies at the top of supply chains to speed and drive tired to meet unrealistic deadlines compounded by gig companies undercutting the industry,” the TWU says.

“The results are deadly: so far in 2022, 42 people have died in truck-involved crashes – including 14 truck drivers.”

The TWU has taken action against the ATA’s proposals, calling on the National Transport Commission (NTC) to reject the ideas if it is serious about improving safety standards in the industry.

“The ATA’s again putting profits ahead of the safety of the men and women who do an extraordinary job driving our national supply chains,” TWU national assistant secretary Nick McIntosh says.

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“Federal regulation is the best way to clean up the industry’s economics, but not like this. Drivers need an independent body with the power to set enforceable standards in road transport – something the Senate recommended over six months ago.”

The TWU says regulations like this would lift the standards of the industry and stop companies from undercutting employees.

It’s not just the TWU disagreeing with the ATA either; veteran owner driver and former ATA owner driver representative on the association’s General Council in Frank Black also says this proposal takes control out of truckies’ hands.

“The idea that transport bosses are better placed to monitor working hours than drivers would be funny if it weren’t so serious,” Black says.

“It’s hard enough to attract drivers to our industry given rising costs and slipping standards. Giving companies more power to cover up behaviour isn’t going to change that – it’s only going to make it worse.”

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