September 7, 2020

TWU News.
Spring 2020.

Editorial by TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen.

Facing the challenge TOGETHER

It’s a rough time for many of our members, for some the future still seems uncertain. We understand that and remain standing beside you, ready to help. 

We will not stop the call on employers and government at all levels to take on their share of the responsibility for your pay, your conditions, and your safety. They must continue to value the critical nature of your work.

In road transport we have the extraordinary situation of border closures. The NSW and Victorian border was closed for the first time in 100 years. Your union has kept the NSW Government on notice. We wrote to Premier Berejiklian on your behalf seeking clarity on how transport workers moving freight between the States would be dealt with.

Truck drivers face added complications when they are not given adequate access to rest areas, roadhouses and are made to wait for prolonged periods at checkpoints. We asked the Premier to allow truck drivers to pass through the border checkpoints swiftly – ensuring they are not adding excessive hours to their time on the road.

We have shone the spotlight on the failures of government when it came to the issuing of permits and won changes that have made it easier for transport workers to deal with the bureaucratic red tape at Service NSW. 

Our officials are in yards where they can and we are training Health and Safety Reps to make sure that employers are minimising the risk from Covid-19 for all that work in transport. Truck drivers are critical workers transporting essential goods. 

Since early March we have set the Union example in the private bus industry. We have shown bus operators and Transport for NSW what a determined membership looks like, creating a safer transport system for drivers and passengers, putting in place measures that mean social distancing is observed, that buses can continue to run. 

We are awaiting for assurances from the NSW Government that special leave will apply for all bus drivers. If any bus driver is required to cease work or self-isolate due to Covid-19, we would expect that they be paid their usual weekly expected income and not be penalised through that being taken out of their leave entitlements. 

In Aviation, we have all taken some blows, some members are out of work or finding new jobs and the fight for Aviation Keeper is continuing . What we do not need is extra pain. We are still seeing across the industry, corporate greed overtaking corporate responsibility.

Companies and the Federal Government have been very fast to allow workers to bear the brunt of the pandemic crisis. Many workers are being forced to use their accrued and future leave or surviving by dipping into their retirement savings. The TWU was among the first unions to call for wages to be subsidised and for workers to be compensated for leave they are being forced to take.

We remain beside you, we are learning from what is happening and we need corporations to learn with us that this is a time of shared responsibility. The transport industry needs a stronger future after Coronavirus. 

When we emerge from the pandemic the TWU will keep up the fight to ensure that governments hold corporations and companies to account and recognise the transport workers who never stopped but kept going. 


Stay safe
Richard Olsen,
State Secretary


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