Safe Rates Would Save Lives In The Road Transport Industry

Credit: Original article can be found here


As unions, governments and industry leaders come together
for today’s Safe Rates Summit 2021, co-hosted by FIRST
Union, it’s time to learn from the international evidence
and implement a safe rates system that would save lives on
our roads and end competitive tendering models that
incentivise unsafe practices in the transport industry,
FIRST Union said today.

“Safe Rates refers to the idea
that road transport employers and not drivers should be
responsible for the actual costs of operating the supply
chain, and expenses incurred in delivering a contract should
be borne by the actual economic employer rather than
squeezing them out of drivers’ wages and conditions,” said
Jared Abbott, FIRST Union Secretary for Transport, Logistics
and Manufacturing.

“For years in New Zealand major
employers in the road transport industry have been
explicitly passing on significant costs in the supply chain
to workers, which means pay and conditions have been cut and
unsafe practices have taken hold as the
norm.”

“We’ve heard recently about log books being
falsified in the trucking industry as drivers are forced to
cut corners on behalf of the actual employer – it’s just
one example of how the contracting model penalises drivers
and leads to unsafe practices on the
road.”

“Meanwhile, economic employers have been able
to pass on costs to their contractors and obscure the actual
cost of doing business while simultaneously weakening the
power of drivers to negotiate fair wages that reflect the
work required to do the job.”

“At the moment, road
transport is unfortunately a sector built on a
lie.”

The global Safe Rates campaign has been marked
by victories for the Transport Workers Union (TWU) at the
state level in Australia as well as the passage of safe
rates legislation in South Korea, where after 15 years of
struggle, minimum pay rates were established in 2018. Safe
rates or similar systems also exist in the US, Canada and
the Netherlands.

The International Safe Rates summit
is a virtual tripartite meeting held over two days that will
consider international standards and best practices, with
the aim of sustaining decent work in the road transport
industry and establishing a clear wage floor in New Zealand.
It is being co-hosted by FIRST Union, the International
Transport Workers Federation, the Korean Public Service and
Transport Workers’ Union and Oseop Jo, National Assembly
Member (Democratic Party of Korea).

“It’s rare that
employers and drivers are on exactly the same page, but
everyone in the industry knows that current procurement
practices are responsible for the mess we’re in,” said Mr
Abbott.

“And it’s not just the explicit road
transport sector either – these issues apply equally in
forestry and public transport, where unregulated competitive
tendering is driving unsafe behaviour down the supply
chain.”

For further details on the summit, visit the
International
Transport Workers’ Federation

website.

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