The Transport Workers Union has called on the NSW Premier to urgently set up testing hubs so transport workers can get tested for COVID quickly rather than waiting in long queues before their shifts.
The Union is writing to the NSW Premier over the alarm among workers in the scramble to get tested after a new health order was released yesterday. The TWU wants to see testing hubs at airports, truck stops, bus depots, taxi and rideshare stops and where delivery riders congregate for work. The Union also wants better consultation ahead of any public health orders affecting transport workers being released.
TWU NSW Branch Secretary Richard Olsen said there has been chaos in the last 24 hours for transport workers trying to comply with the new order.
“This has been a shambles for transport workers battling to do their jobs and comply with the testing order. It is not acceptable that we have truck drivers, bus drivers, aviation workers, rideshare drivers, delivery drivers and others sitting waiting in queues at centres overnight and then having to go to work today. Many truck drivers and bus drivers out in the regions and doing inter-state work don’t even know where they can get tested and if they can do so safely without breaching fatigue rules,” he said.
“We are calling for testing hubs in or close to places of work and better consultation when strict rules like this come into place. The NSW Government must make ensure that essential workers are not hampered going about their work and that there is as little stress on them as possible. It’s hard enough being out on the frontline during a frightening outbreak of a deadly viral strain while most people can stay at home without having additional burdens placed on them,” he said.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the Federal Government should assist in ensuring protections for transport workers.
“Workers should not be finding out at the last minute about new orders on testing. This information must be disseminated to workers through appropriate channels at work and through their unions. We need better communication and consultation to make new measures can function and so workers’ lives are not thrown into chaos. A national approach from the Federal Government, whether regarding testing or vaccination, is glaringly absent,” he said.