LAZARUS DROPS THE BALL ON DRIVER SAFETY – TWU

Glenn Lazarus coming out against the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal is irresponsible and plays into the hands of those who wish to see the Tribunal fail, says the Queensland Branch of the Transport Workers’ Union.


Over the last week Senator Glenn Lazarus has shown that he hasn’t lost his touch when it comes to blindly running headfirst into engagements, trying desperately to make some ground for his “team”. Such is the case when Lazarus decided on a whim that instead of continuing his support for the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal he would fight to abolish it, tearing down years of progress that resulted from a fierce campaign from the TWU to improve driver safety.

“This is bigger than just the one Order that’s been put out” said Peter Biagini, Secretary of the TWU QLD branch. “What we’re seeing is calls for the entire Tribunal to be shut down, coming from Senators who supported it originally”

“Where were the calls to shut it down when draft orders were released? Where’s the outrage when people die on our roads almost every day? The Tribunal is designed to look at the entire transport industry, and now we have these flip-flopping politicians saying that because an industry group told them so that the entire Tribunal should be scrapped? It’s absolutely disgraceful”

“The Order, which has now unfortunately been postponed thanks to an injunction from the Australian Industry Group, is designed to put Owner Drivers on an even footing with employee drivers – to give them some certainty when it comes to how much they’ll be paid, and reduce the pressure that is leading to fatalities on our roads”

Senator Lazarus made no effort to contact the Transport Workers’ Union in his home state of Queensland, instead relying on information from industry groups like NatRoad that were slammed by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal for “…despite having questions from their members about the 2016 RSRO and despite NatRoad’s Industrial Relations Manager not being legally qualified, NatRoad has never obtained any legal advice on the 2016 RSRO so as to assist their members with respect to their questions about the 2016 RSRO” (RSRT, 2016).

The TWU is now calling on Senator Lazarus to take back his comments, and once again support Safe Rates for transport workers.

“We cannot afford to see drivers engage in a race to the bottom when it comes to pay and conditions – which is exactly what happens when Owner Drivers aren’t covered by an Award” said Peter Biagini.

ENDS

Media Contact: Tom Millroy – 0411 875 910

Notes:

Safe Rates Order

The Order delivered last December sets down minimum safe rates for drivers, ensuring they are paid all their costs and for all the work they do. The Order will address the pressure on drivers in long-distance and retail to speed, drive long hours, skip breaks and delay maintenance on their vehicles. The Order ensures drivers are paid minimum rates which cover time spent waiting and queuing at depots and distribution centres. Most importantly the Order holds major retailers to account for the pressure on transport operators and drivers though their low cost contracts. This push for profits ultimately costs lives.

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