Today, Feb 20th 2017

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Owner-drivers tribunal ambushed by liars

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Owner drivers who protested in canberra in april against the road safety remuneration Order were hoodwinked by the turnbull Government and other vested interests.

In WA too - many were blinded from the truth by an intense campaign of lies and misinformation by employer organisations, business groups and opportunistic politicians fighting for media coverage with an election due on July 2.

The RSRO – was the best chance in australia’s history that truck operators have had to secure safe rates.

We understand that the Order was confusing and work needed to be done to clear up that confusion and points of contention

That’s why the TWU had argued strongly for a delay in the application of the Order until January 2017.

However, that never happened – and the laws are gone – FOR NOW!

Since their abolition many industry spokesmen and industry publications have backed the TWU position on retaining the tribunal and its Order.

Brian Turpie, president of the longhaul Drivers association asked a very pertinent question on the abc’s 7.30 program as debate raged over the RSRO.

“Does anyone see the irony in a group of contractors going to canberra to campaign for less money” Ian asked.

“This is a scare campaign aimed solely at stopping them from getting a rate increase that they have so long deserved to get,” he remarked

Ian was right on the money. it was a cynical, political scare campaign and it worked.

But if anyone thinks the TWU is going lie down in a ditch and let our drive for SAFE RATES die they are incredibly wrong.

The fight goes on and we are extremely heartened that federal opposition leader Bill Shorten has vowed to bring back minimum rates laws.

Opponents of the laws argued that companies would sack owner drivers and send them into bankruptcy because the RSRO would make them too expensive.

However, the TWU has not been told of one single case where an owner driver – lost work because of the RSRO.

In fact when I asked a packed meeting of sub-contractors at the belmont sports club to come forward on this issue – no one did - not one.

How could they have – the RSRO never really came into effect.

Now there is no RSRO to blame yet:

  • Truck operators are still declaring bankruptcy in huge numbers.
  • The appalling toll of suicides in the trucking industry continues to mount up.
  • Companies are still not paying subbies invoices for up to 120 days(the RSRO stipulated 30 days maximum wait).
  • Hundreds of people will continue to die in truck related fatalities.
  • Owner drivers will still put in thousands of hours unpaid work.

and the rampant rate-cutting in the industry continues unabated.

In fact, the economic downturn has added enormous pressure to the plight of owner operators and truck drivers in general.

If ever the RSRT and better regulation of the industry was required - it is now. but we continue to operate under ‘dog eat dog’ Rafferty’s rules.

While this appalling state of the industry exists the TWU will continue its fight for safe rates. WE WILL NEVER GIVE IN!!!