High risk in truck driver remuneration structure again highlighted todayPublish By Joseph A. Cambra Updated 21/06/2012 6:19 am in NZ News / no comments
Media Release: FIRST Union
Thursday June 21, 2012
A second report this week documenting poor remuneration for truck drivers leading to crashes must prompt action to better regulate drivers’ incomes and make our roads safer, their union said today.
Fairfax’s report this morning of a Waikato investigation showing that unsustainable margins for livestock trucking operators was leading to dangerous practices, echoes Monday’s report from the Policing Advisory Agency highlighting drug use in the heavy vehicle industry, by drivers working long hours and using stimulants to stay awake.
The common theme across both reports was inadequate remuneration leading to unsafe practices on our roads, First Union Transport & Logistics Secretary Karl Andersen said.
“While there are specific issues affecting livestock carriage, highlighted in today’s report, the common theme for drivers is that their income being squeezed by the firms they are contracting to.”
“As both the Waikato report and the Policing Advisory Agency study have demonstrated, the pressure on drivers is immense. They work in an industry that drives down their margins, leading them to take risks and compromise the safety of themselves and other road users,” he said.
Karl Andersen said New Zealand needed to follow Australia’s lead and bring in law to stop truck drivers having pay systems that encouraged unsafe practises.
“Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said this morning our law was working fine. Any casual observer of the trucking industry can clearly see this isn’t the case,” Karl Andersen said.
Australia’s Road Safety Remuneration Act comes into force next month, and it was brought in to make sure truck drivers do not have remuneration related incentives to work in an unsafe manner, he said.
The Australian law also covers hirers of road transport drivers and participants in the supply chain, to make sure they took responsibility for implementing and maintaining the standards set out in the law.
FIRST Union’s Transport & Logistics section was organising a seminar on the matter in September, he said.