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  Issue No 64 Official Organ of LaborNet 28 July 2000  

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News

Inquiry Lifts Lid on "SweetShops on Wheels"

By Scott Connolly

The harsh realities of the long distance rucking industry have been exposed in public hearings before the NSW Motor Accidents Authorities Safety Inquiry into the Long Haul Trucking Industry in Sydney this week.

Taking submissions from drivers their partners other family members the inquiry has heard details on the incidence of drug use, speeding and declining safety standards in the industry.

Concerned Families of Australian Truckies' chairperson, Judith Penton told the inquiry of the terrifying details of truckers families being pushed over the edge and being forced to live with trauma and constant fear of losing loved ones on the road.

The inquiry has also heard from a number of employer's and industry associations involved in the industry, including submissions today from the Transport Worker's Union.

Despite the horror stories, the constant thread running through all the submission has been the level of competition in the industry and the pressures and demands that are being placed on drivers and companies in the industry that are forcing drivers over the edge.

Visiting American Academic, a former Teamster and author of "Sweetshops on Wheels", Dr Michael Belzer reinforced this point in his submission to the inquiry identifying the source of competition in the industry as the pressures and demands being forced on companies and drivers by clients wanting better transport services and continually cheaper prices.

Identifying a potential solution to problems in the industry. TWU State Secretary Tony Sheldon said, "Clients of the transport industry have to accept that there is a lot more to getting their groceries on the shelves than just 'out sourcing' to a transport company. Until these people are forced to accept responsibility for the movement of their freight on the nations highways the grim realities of the long distance trucking industry only going to get worse."

Chaired by Professor Michael Quinlan from the School of Industrial Relations and Organisational Behaviour at the University of NSW the inquiry will hold hearings in Canberra next week. It will be visiting other major transport hubs in the weeks to come, including sites in Melbourne and Brisbane.


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*   Issue 64 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Greg Sword Unsheathed
The NUW national secretary is set to be endorsed as ALP Federal president next week. He talks about the relationship between the two wings of the labour movement.
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*  Unions: Phone Rage, Headaches and Stress
A comprehensive survey of the call centre industry conducted by the ASU has revealed an industry workplace culture dominated by excessive monitoring and stress.
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*  Economics: And the Winner Is .... Sydney?
Austrade chief economist Tim Harcourt looks at the export impact of the Sydney Olympics and asks if we'll win gold.
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*  International: Western Sahara: Referendum Or War?
A June UN referendum in Western Sahara could have provided the people of Western Sahara a chance to exercise their right to self-determination and independence. It didn't.
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*  History: The Union's Roots in Song
We look at some of the songs that kept working people going through their darkest hours.
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*  Media: Unchaining the ABC
The ALP needs to rethink our public institutions to determine how they might better deliver the ends for which they were originally established.
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*  Environment: Motorways Fail the Pollie Test
Our daily grind of congested roads, polluted air, and frustrated motorists is putting all and sundry to the test, and not least Liberal and Labor politicians.
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*  Satire: Murdoch Launches Bid for Under-9s Netball Team
Sydney's lucrative junior league netball broadcasting market has been shaken by a bid by one of the world's most predatory entrepreneurs, Rupert Murdoch, to secure ownership of the most successful team in the league.
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*  Review: Espionage a Trois
The Whitlams' brass section his teamed with some of the hippest cats in Sydney to make the sort of music you'll want to shoot baddies to.
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News
»  McMeanies Skimp on Olympics Pay
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»  Lawyers Pose as Students to Nail Workers
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»  Fiji Union Protests on Wednesday
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»  Casino Plumps for Penalty Rates
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»  AWU’s Push For The Bush
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»  Inquiry Lifts Lid on "SweetShops on Wheels"
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»  Fair Traders Call for World Where People Matter
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»  Accor Makes 'Cheeky' Olympics Offer
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»  Sacking Threat Was ‘Group Therapy’
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»  Doing It For The Love Of It
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»  Deadline to Vote in ARM Poll Approaches
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»  Grief Support for Workplace Tragedies
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»  Workers Invited to Mark Federation
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  Viva Eavesdropping Jonesy
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»  Globalisation and Maintaining Our Lifestyle
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»  Crappiest Music Feedback
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