|Issue No 64||28 July 2000|
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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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005