Sunday, July 20, 2008


Red News Readers,

If this strike goes ahead these truckies are going to need all the support they can get against the hysteria of the current industrial system,

Jenny Haines

Truckies' strike will stop food supplies

Simon O'Brien, smh

July 20, 2008

ROGUE truck drivers are planning a nationwide two-week strike that they say could starve people of food and fuel.

In a quest for better pay and conditions, the organisers - led by the Australian Long Distance Owners' and Drivers' Association, a national alliance of truck drivers, and two transport tycoons - hope Australia's truckies will kill their engines for two weeks from July 28.

One of the transport company owners, Peter Schuback of Queensland's Hervey Bay, said low pay, poor highways, insufficient stopping bays and inflexible driving-time regulations had made the industry unsustainable.

He said the stoppage would show the public what would happen if the industry were to collapse.

"On day three of the stoppage shops will run out of food, on day four service stations will run out of petrol, on day five we will run out of [drinkable] water ... and on day 10 industry will shut down because there will be no power," Mr Schuback said.

"We expect 80 per cent of the transport industry to take a holiday. "A lot of transport companies have been threatening their staff that they will sack them if they do it, but the truckies know that there aren't a lot of them around, so who are they going to replace them with?"

Mr Schuback said there were not enough truck stopping bays and few had adequate toilet facilities.

If a bay was already full, and a truckie had to drive on to another after their maximum allowed travel time, in Queensland they could be fined $1500 plus $100 for each additional 15 minutes driving time, and receive six demerit points.

For many drivers, their costs outstripped their pay, he said.

"If you drive an average of about 220,000 kilometres a year, it costs $2.36 a kilometre," he said.

"That takes into account all costs of running that vehicle. However, we have drivers getting as little as $1.35 a kilometre and they are going broke rapidly. We are asking the Government for a minimum rate that will make the industry sustainable."

Stoppage organisers have circulated text messages among the country's 100,000 drivers to spread their message.

However, the protest does not have union backing.

Transport Workers Union Queensland branch secretary Hughie Williams said the union was already lobbying the Government to introduce a scheme to automatically compensate truckies for their costs.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Julia Gillard said the Government was willing to investigate pay rates in the transport industry and consider specific measures to assist truck drivers.

"The Government recognises that there are serious concerns about conditions in the road transport industry," she said in a statement.

Source: The Sun-Herald