THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT HORROR SHOW
Workers warned the Federal Government in October 2021 that easing restrictions would see COVID explode in transport supply chains, which meant politicians needed to provide free rapid tests to keep workers safe. The arrival of Omicron in Australia set off a virus bomb, sending more transport workers to their sickbeds than ever before because the Federal Government hadn’t provided the tools necessary to keep workers safe.
The Prime Minister’s panic-stricken response was a horror show. First, he sent those most likely carrying the virus back into the workplace, then tried to make snap rule changes to forklift and truck licencing in Australia’s deadliest industry. The TWU, along with other unions and activists, slammed this move and National Cabinet thankfully shot down the attempt to rush teenagers onto forklifts to plug gaps, while truck licencing changes will be discussed further.
Workers are industry experts – they’re the ones who know how to work safely and whose voices should be leading the response. Transport workers need a seat at the table to make sure hare-brained decisions by politicians won’t make your challenging jobs even more difficult.
THE RETAIL SUPPLY CHAIN ALLIANCE
The Retail Supply Chain Alliance (RSCA) – made up of the TWU, the AWU and the SDA – represents workers throughout supply chains, from the farms to the stores. After Omicron, closely followed by severe flooding, and Morrison’s refusal to listen to workers, we took our set of Supply Chain Safety Principles to Canberra. We called on politicians to implement as a priority:
• Free rapid tests for all supply chain workers;
• Regulation of the gig economy to protect secure jobs; and
• Mandatory consultation with workers on policy changes which may disrupt supply chains
PROTECTING THE SUPPLY CHAIN GLOBALLY
Australian transport workers aren’t just leading the debate on supply chain safety at home – we are doing so on a global stage. Recently, TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine and NSW/QLD Secretary Richard Olsen joined other transport union representatives from around the world to discuss the global fight for safe rates, the importance of road safety and a fair post-COVID recovery in transport at the International Transport Federation’s Extraordinary Road Transport Section Steering Committee Meeting.
With global threats like Amazon Flex and other undercutting players, these partnerships are crucial and the success of Australian transport workers in fighting for a fairer industry is inspiring other workers across the world. Ultimately, we will continue the fight to create supply chains that are fairer and safer. Transport workers have always been prepared to speak truth to power, and that’s never been more important than now.