Truckies stage protest in Sydney demanding ‘safe rates’

Traffic has come to a screaming halt at a major Sydney junction, as truck drivers staged a protest.

At 10am on Wednesday, more than 200 transport workers converged on the corner of York and King Streets demanding the government return a system of safe rates to address the crisis in trucking and the high death toll in truck crashes.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


They held crosses and placed boots on the road to highlight the deadly nature of truck driving, which has the highest workplace fatalities of any profession and among the highest suicides.

“Truck drivers have a right to be safe at work and they have a right to be paid a minimum rate for all their work,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.

“Everyone else has a right to feel safe on the road and not be at risk because of low cost contracts by wealthy clients which force drivers to speed, drive long hours, skip mandatory rest breaks and skip maintenance on their trucks. We are demanding that the Government honour these rights now,” he added.

Owner driver Dave Wocjik told the protest the Government’s opposition to safe rates only benefits the big retailers.

“I’m lucky enough to earn a decent rate for my work that allows me to maintain my truck and support my family, but every day I pass truckies who are tired, stressed and in rigs that are not properly maintained because of the pressure from major clients,” Mr Wocjik said.

The TWU claims changes by the Federal Government last month saw a system of safe rates abolished, allowing wealthy clients such as retailers, banks, oil companies and ports to use low cost contracts, which do not allow their goods to be delivered safely.