Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal hears industry concerns

The Transport Workers’ Union Assistant National Secretary, Michael Kaine, called last week’s Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) hearings a “momentous step” in the long fight for safe rates.

According to Kaine, a key factor in many crashes is unfair economic pressure from clients, including major retailers. “The RSRT was set up to address these unfair economic pressures and help improve road safety,” he said.

“Today, the Tribunal is considering whether there need to be minimum pay rates for drivers, to arrest a race to the bottom on wages and safety.

“I welcome the work of the RSRT, as a step towards fewer truck crashes and safer roads.”

New South Wales truck driver, John Waltis, said he knew of drivers who had been forced to speed or overload their vehicles just to keep delivery contracts, and of drivers who had skipped rest breaks to stay behind the wheel and meet unrealistic delivery times. “I’ve been to 52 funerals for friends who’ve worked as drivers I don’t want to go to anymore,” Mr Waltis said.

The RSRT was set up in 2012 following evidence that major clients were pressuring drivers to drive too long or too fast in order to meet unrealistic delivery times.

Mr Kaine said the Federal Government was presently reviewing the RSRT with a view to closing it down. “I urge all Australians to make contact with this Government and tell them road safety is not just red tape, and the RSRT cannot be abolished without increasing the risk of deaths on our roads,” he added.

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