Owner drivers have overwhelmingly backed TWU candidate Frank Black as their representative on the ATA’s general council, highlighting the desire for change in the trucking industry.
Frank, a long-distance owner driver for over 30 years who has previously served on the ATA general council, stood for changes in the industry to ensure safe rates and a stronger independent voice for owner drivers on the ATA.
“I’m very pleased with the win. I hope my presence on the general council will mean the ATA will start to listen to reasoned arguments about why we need to reform our industry and make wealthy clients at the top pay, instead of passing resolutions which play right into their hands. I hope they will start to understand how damaging their campaign to shut down a road safety watchdog three years ago was since it took away guaranteed 30-day payments for owner drivers. Since then drivers are doing it hard, anyone who is talking to us regularly will know this. Transport operators are also doing it hard. No amount of ignoring the problem will make it go away. We have a chance for change and the ATA needs to get on board,” said Frank Black.
“The problem is that when the ATA opposed the road safety watchdog three years ago it was replaced with nothing. The ATA are even passing resolutions to do nothing. Drivers need enforceable and sustainable rates and conditins addressed, doing nothing is not a solution,” he added
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said Frank’s win showed how the overwhelming majority of drivers are backing change. “I congratulate Frank on a fantastic win. Drivers along with transport operators and industry bodies are joining the chorus demanding positive reform in our industry. As an organization representing almost 80,000 drivers, owner operators and small businesses we are hearing the demand for change each day. What we need is tough regulation, not voluntary codes. We need to lift standards, not allow a dog-eat-dog race to the bottom. We need a system of Safe Rates so that everyone, drivers and operators alike, have got a minimum threshold to ensure they can keep their businesses going, pay their overheads and pay themselves a wage to support their families. This will make our industry fairer, but it will also save lives. Over 500 people have been killed since the ATA helped the Federal Government tear down a system of Safe Rates three years ago. The Government’s own Department of Infrastructure says ‘heavy trucks are disproportionately involved in casualty crashes’. We can make trucking safer and reduce the deaths,” he said.
The TWU had criticised the election process after it emerged registration to vote in the 2019 elections opened in July 2017, but was only made public three weeks before registration closed. “The online process for registering and voting is far too onerous, requiring several steps, including registration, confirmation of registration and subsequently voting. It is no surprise that only 123 people out of 203 registered drivers actually ended up voting. Despite this Frank won 61% of the vote, with owner drivers determined to support him,” Kaine added.