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TWU ‘crashes’ Coles

On one hand it’s easy to applaud statements by Transport Workers Union (TWU) national secretary Tony Sheldon calling on MPs to fight Federal Government plans to shut down the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal after July 1.

As the TWU has repeatedly and often justifiably explained through its outspoken national secretary, the road safety tribunal was established in 2012 as a national safety agency with powers to reduce the economic pressure on drivers and help save lives.

“Make no mistake, if the Road Safety Tribunal is closed, there will be more crashes and more deaths on Australian roads,” Tony Sheldon asserted in a recent statement.

Fair enough, but on the other hand it may be difficult for many people to fathom the union’s unrelenting negative reference to supermarket giant Coles in almost every public statement.

On the Gold Coast recently, the union’s efforts hit a theatrical high point when, according to yet another TWU press release, ‘… Tony Sheldon joined more than 150 truck drivers and their families in an advance memorial for the 330 people who will die this year in truck-related crashes.’

Again aiming verbal barbs squarely at the retailer, Sheldon said many of the deaths were the result of economic pressure from retailers like Coles, which forced drivers to meet unrealistic delivery deadlines.

“Families at today’s memorial will be asking for a gift from Coles – the certainty that their loved ones will come home after work on Australia’s roads,” he continued.

The event culminated with protesters marching from Coles in Broadbeach to a nearby site where a wreath was laid for the future fatalities on a smashed heavy vehicle.

Yet the Gold Coast event with its attached rhetoric and dark drama was just one in an incessant series of TWU statements and events that routinely lay much responsibility for dangerous driver practice at Coles, and Coles alone.

While the TWU’s push for retention of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal is highly commendable, the sustained targeting of one company among a large number of companies hardly rates as fair, particularly when it comes from an organisation whose credo espouses the principle of fairness.

Source: Leading independent industry journalist.

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