The Transport Workers' Union is demanding assurances that truck drivers entering Victoria from South Australia are given the protections they need, with mandatory testing of truck drivers planned and if further restrictions are imposed.
TWU SA/NT Branch Secretary Ian Smith said drivers need to be able to continue doing their jobs as essential workers transporting vital goods around the country.
“We support any measures that keep the community safe during the pandemic, but we urge that truckies are given the protections they need to continue doing their jobs. We want assurances that drivers will be able to cross the border to deliver the food, fuel, medicine and other essential goods that they are transporting. Drivers must be paid if they are forced to wait for lengthy delays and they must have pandemic leave if they are required to self-isolate,” he said.
“Government agencies need to be mindful of the reality of the job for truckies. Many are on the road for several days at a time and significant delays on the border will impact on fatigue. Permit requirements must also take into account drivers who are out on the road with loads ready to cross borders. Information on how and where they can access permits must be timely and clear,” he added.
“We also need assurances that whatever restrictions are put in place, drivers will be able to continue accessing truck stops with showers, meals and rest areas that are still open. We do not want to see a repeat of the situation earlier in the year where drivers were not able to access these facilities when crossing into states,” said Smith.
The TWU has pushed for protections and supports for drivers across Australia when various border restrictions have been put in place, including exemptions for drivers to access showers, meals and rest areas at truck stops.