Years of campaigning from TWU members has got us to this point, and we are on the precipice of securing the lifeline our industry needs. But there is still a way to go, and we must not be complacent.
At the end of 2022, Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke committed to giving the Fair Work Commission scope to set enforceable standards in transport.
This would be revolutionary. It would give all transport workers – employees, owner drivers, contractors, and gig workers alike – regulation to provide appropriate rights and protections that would ensure transport jobs are good, secure jobs with safer conditions.
As we’ve seen from the collapse of Scott’s, from FedEx’s move into gig-style piece rate models, from the rise of gig models in freight around the world (US, Canada, Europe, China), and from the booming profits of wealthy clients whose goods we transport, this reform cannot come soon enough.
But it is not a done deal. This reform will have to pass through Federal Parliament, which means we are reliant on votes from politicians outside of the Labor Federal Government.
Already we’re seeing opposition start to rear its ugly head, spreading lies and falsehoods that we’re going after small business. This reform is for everybody working in transport – small businesses included. In fact, small businesses arguably need this the most. Just look at the collapse of Scott’s, where small fleet owners are $200,000 out of pocket with no access to the government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme while debts and ongoing operating costs continue to pile up.
We must be louder and that means all of our voices need to be heard in one, unified chorus.
We’re gathering photo petitions at transport yards, videos of members calling for reform, and will be planning numerous actions over the coming weeks and months, including national convoys in June – so start preparing to bring along your family and friends!
This will require a huge effort from all of us to get this reform over the line, but together, with everyone doing their bit, we can do it.