Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Truck driver pressure not GV issue, operator says

Union says truck drivers under pressure to speed or ignore safety defects, but National Road Transport Operators board member says these issues don't apply to the Goulburn Valley.

JENNA BISHOP August 9, 2014 3:04am

The Transport Workers Union is seeking government and tribunal action on lifting the economic pressures on drivers.

The call to action comes after a BP tanker came loose from a truck and killed three people travelling in two separate cars on Thursday near Wodonga.

However, a Goulburn Valley transport operator says he does not believe there are such pressures locally.

MMV Transport director and National Road Transport Operators board member Leckie Milne said he had never experienced any drivers forced to speed to meet deadlines.

‘‘If something happens when we’re driving and we can’t make the schedule, we get the times changed,’’ he said.

Mr Milne said while drivers often left early, there were often unforseen delays, and they always worked with the companies to arrange a new delivery schedule.

Transport Workers’ Union acting national secretary Michael Kaine yesterday said the union would immediately start legal action against rogue operators in the oil, fuel and gas industries.

Mr Kaine said the dispute would be lodged with the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

The action would seek to hold clients accountable for skipping safety checks and setting impossibly low pay rates or delivery times.

‘‘Industry research shows one in four tanker drivers face economic pressure to speed and one in three have been threatened with job losses if they report safety defects,’’ he said.

‘‘For years, drivers and the union have been calling for government action to improve tanker safety.

‘‘The response has been simple inaction from clients and government alike.’’

A 2014 oil/fuel/gas tanker driver survey the union did said 26 per cent of drivers felt pressured to speed and 49 per cent were pressured to skip rest breaks and drive while fatigued.

It also found 26 per cent were pressured to falsify their log books and 33 per cent were threatened with job losses if they reported serious safety issues on the sites that were their delivery destinations.

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