Low paid workers must be given wage rises in order to ensure the economy can rebound from its current slump and clients at the top must be held accountable for rates across transport, says the TWU.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine says ensuring workers have money in their pockets is a vital way to boost consumer confidence as restrictions are lifted.
“The pandemic showed just how essential transport workers are. It would be a disgrace to refuse them a vital boost to their wages. It must be remembered that the national wage rise applies to the very lowest paid workers. Many of these workers have suffered financially during the pandemic. If they haven’t lost hours or overtime in work themselves, their partners or other earners in their household probably have. It makes economic sense to ensure workers can support their families and help get our economy back on track as restrictions are lifted,” he said.
The pandemic and the pressure on transport showed the need for a regulatory system which holds clients at the top of the transport supply chain to account.
“Many clients sitting at the top of the transport supply chain are experiencing bumper sales since the pandemic. Amazon for example grew its revenues by 26% in the first three months in 2020. These wealthy clients must be held to account to ensure transport operators and drivers can operate as the pandemic abates in a safe environment, ensuring wage rates are fair and that safety is the number one priority. What we do not want to see is clients continuing to financially squeeze transport and using the pandemic as an excuse, resulting in much needed wage rises being deferred,” he added.
“Safety is not getting any better in transport, too many people are continuing to die in truck crashes. Transport operators are still going out of business every week. Now is the time to push to lift standards across transport, not lower standards. We urge all the elements of the transport industry to keep pushing for better standards. There has been good engagement in this process right across the industry, particularly under the auspices of the Senate Inquiry initiated by Senator Glenn Sterle. We all need to stay the course on this to ensure reform becomes a reality,” he added.