Truckies place pressure on Woolworths over pay dispute

Posted by James Ferre on 4th August 2008

The Transport Workers Union, the leading union for truck drivers, has reported that they plan to hold demonstrations every fortnight until the major retailers respond to their requests for better pay.

Hundreds of truck drivers participated in a strike at the Woolworths outlet in Rosehill last Friday morning and this followed a protest at the Woolworths store in St. Clair two weeks previously.

On Friday they walked from the racecourse to the supermarket for a speech by union reps before stopping nearby traffic for five to ten minutes while chanting ‘Woolies the bully’.

The TWU’s National Secretary, Tony Sheldon, told the ABC that a resolution with Coles and Woolworths was vital and they would not rule out bans. “We are determined to make sure that we have national safe rates across the retail sector, these major companies and across all industries because we know people’s lives do depend on what the union does,” he said.

“Drivers are currently having to absorb the spikes in fuel prices. A system of cost recovery would allow drivers to safely maintain their vehicles and spend less time on the roads,” he suggested. “The major retailers like Coles and Woolworths increase the costs of goods for every member of the public and use the rising fuel costs as an excuse, yet this money isn’t passed down the transport chain to the drivers.”

The issue of pay and conditions for Australian truck drivers has been prominent in recent times, with a strike held by some drivers last week. The proposed two-week strike only lasted for two and a half days due to a lack of union and driver support, although it did have some impact on businesses in Queensland.