Australia, Transport News

TWU joins global effort to support transport reform

The TWU has joined a global campaign to make our roads safer for road transport drivers and other motorists

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has joined more than 50 unions around the world in calling for governments to implement Safe Rates systems, which it claimwould dramatically improve conditions for road transport drivers and make roads safer for all road users.

The TWU is urging the Australian government to support legislation recently tabled by workplace relations minister Tony Burke, which aims to make road transport safer, fairer and more sustainable.

The campaign is supported by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which represents around 18.5m workers in 154 countries.

It builds on past successes in countries such as Canada, South Korea and Brazil, where Safe Rates systems have resulted in better conditions for drivers, as well as improved road safety and industry viability.

This year, 162 people, 40 of which were truck drivers, have been killed in truck crashes on Australian roads. A further 14 gig transport workers have been killed on the roads since 2017.

There were also 347 transport insolvencies in Australia in the last financial year.

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine says the growing crisis in road transport around the world has led to global unity.

RELATED ARTICLE: TWU push for gig economy reform comes to a head

“In Australia and around the world there is an urgent need for transport reform that can make our roads safer, not just for workers but for all road-users,” he says.

“The fight for Safe Rates globally is gaining pace, with over 50 unions joining with one call for systems that can address razor-thin margins, commercial pressure from the top of the supply chain and unfair competition from the gig economy. 

“We’re calling not just on the Australian parliament but governments around the world to urgently back enforceable minimum standards that would ease the deadly pressures on drivers and operators.” 

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton, adds that multinational companies that depend on road transport workers are cutting corners and driving down wages in the pursuit of higher profits.  

“These reckless and greedy practices aren’t just making life a misery for road transport drivers, they are causing carnage and death on our roads,” he says.

“The Safe Rates campaign says that enough is enough. We know that when drivers are paid properly and have decent conditions, they are able to work without being forced to risk their own lives and the lives of everyone on the roads. 

Responsible employers know that fair and safe standards in road transport are not only good for workers,they make our whole industry safer and more sustainable. 

“We stand ready to work with governments, road transport employers and client companies to define these standards and ensure that they are upheld throughout supply chains and across the road transport industry.” 

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