July 13, 2017

The State Government has finally commenced developing a Code of Conduct for the tipper industry following years of lobbying by the TWU and rank-and-file members.

Industrial Relations Victoria recently contacted all Plant Hire companies and requested they participate in negotiations with the TWU on what the new Code may look like.

The TWU called for top level regulatory protection and supply chain accountability in a submission late last year to a State Government review of laws regulating owner drivers and forestry contractors.

The submission also demanded that any Code must include set, enforceable hourly rates and conditions and eradicate load rates in the excavation industry as these conditions encourage some drivers to speed, over load and break fatigue laws.

Branch Secretary John Berger said the developments underlined the reasons why Unions exist.

“Workers have toiled in this underclass of the transport industry since pre-Federation when people moved debris around with a handcart during the day and were forced to sleep in the cart at night because they barely made enough to eat so forget about a warm bed,” John said.

“The basic framework of the industry back then is the same as today. Uncertain hours, underpayment, dangerous conditions and cutting corners due to a load rate system that encourages undercutting.

“The situation is at a flash point now as public safety has become a live concern because more and more drivers are operating dangerously in densely-populated suburban areas in increasingly larger trucks.

The Union has battled for tipper drivers for decades and, while not yet set in stone, we congratulate the Andrews Labor Government for taking the first step.

We are also proud of the tenacity of grassroots members and Branch Organisers out there fighting for safe rates.

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