A QLD truck driver has been sacked after the company sent him into poverty with no money to feed his family then sent him out on the road with no money to pay for fuel, after he raised proven safety issues which are putting lives at risk on our roads.
“The TWU stands by truck drivers and their right and all QLD families’ right to safe roads, and companies must be held accountable for putting lives in danger,” TWU QLD Secretary Peter Biagini said.
“This week on the same day (30 September) there were two truck crashes in Queensland, one fatal. Our thoughts are with their families.
“The road safety watchdog has put out a Draft Order to hold companies accountable for the safety of the trucks carrying their loads. What will it take to make companies take responsibility for the trucks they send out on our roads?”
Beenleigh truck driver Ed Cocq van Delwijnen, a subcontractor, was sacked by Fulton Hogan in Ormeau after he had no money to pay for fuel on a job the company sent him on, the company having sent him into poverty with not enough money to pay bills or costs on his truck. The company took his work away after he raised the issue that trucks were overloaded posing a lethal hazard on the road.
According to Cocq van Delwijnen the safety hazard he raised was proven by company weighbridge records; and the company then made a directive to drivers which abolished the company of all responsibility for overweight trucks, discouraged drivers from using the weighbridge and made it clear that if they did and their trucks were overweight they were legally to blame.
After Cocq van Delwijnen raised the safety issue he said the company stopped giving him enough work to live on and removed him from jobs where he could police the safety issue of overloading of trucks.
The company then gave Mr Cocq van Delwijnen, desperate to pay his family’s living expenses a job which used more fuel than he could pay for. He ensured he could pay for the fuel by borrowing money, which due to a bank holiday interstate failed to be available in his account when he fuelled up. The driver reimbursed the service station for the fuel in good faith, however after that was sacked by the company.
“The reason they gave me for termination of my contract was ‘on grounds of convenience’ – after I’d paid the fuel bill. It’s a ‘bullying clause’ which allows them to terminate whoever they want for no reason and not be held accountable”, Cocq van Delwijnen said.
“I have children I love and care for that are on the road. If they are hurt by an overloaded truck who is going to look after them?
“Who is going to be held accountable? The companies need to be held accountable. Companies are forcing drivers to go out the road overloaded. They’re not paying us enough to work safely and feed our family.
“I have stood up for safety – it has cost me my business but I would not do it any other way. I’m doing this for my family and everyone’s family.”
The TWU has been supporting Mr Cocq van Delwijnen as a member throughout his fight for a fair go, a living wage for his family and justice for being unfairly terminated by the company.
The TWU works on behalf of members including subcontractors who have been unfairly treated by their employer, and is working to make companies accountable for the safety of the trucks they send out on the road with their loads, through Australia’s road safety watchdog, the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).
The TWU has welcomed a draft Order by the road safety watchdog to set safe rates for truck drivers to cover the full costs of their work.
The draft decision is the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s first major ruling on payments and is a first step towards easing the pressure on drivers which leads to carnage on the roads. The draft order puts in place contract and auditing obligations on the companies at the top of supply chains.
The draft Order addresses the issues which allow companies to get away with sending truck drivers out on the road under conditions which cause fatal truck crashes by forcing them to skip breaks, drive faster, for longer with overloaded vehicles in a stressed and tired state.
“For truck drivers this Order will change their working lives,” Mr Biagini said.
“For all of us who use the road this order will save lives.
“Until the Draft Order from the RSRT is final every family on the road has lives at stake from companies who refuse to be accountable for safety if it affects their profit.”
- Tanie Harris Sansey 0411 875 910
- TWU officials available for comment
- Interviews available with TWU Secretary Peter Biagini and Driver Ed Cocq van Delwijnen (based in Beeleigh, available for interviews before 12 midday).