Food supplies to be halted by rogue truck drivers

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 21st July 2008

Truck drivers are planning a nationwide two-week strike that could limit the supply of food and fuel.

Requesting better pay and conditions, the organisers, led by the Australian Long Distance Owners’ and Drivers’ Association, are asking truck drivers to strike for two weeks from July 28.

One of the transport company owners, Peter Schuback of Queensland’s Hervey Bay, said that the stoppage would highlight the impact the economy would be subjected to if the industry was to collapse. “On day three of the stoppage shops will run out of food, on day four service stations will run out of petrol, on day five we will run out of [drinkable] water … and on day 10 industry will shut down because there will be no power,” Mr Schuback told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Organisers of the strike have been spreading the message to the nations truck drivers via text messages.

The issue of low pay and increasing fuel costs has been on the truckies agenda in recent months, with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) lobbying the Federal Government to provide greater assistance to truck drivers. The TWU is not, however, supporting the proposed strike.

The leading industry body for the trucking industry, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), has also distanced themselves from the proposed stoppage in the belief that it will provide no benefit to the industry.

The Chairman of the ATA, Trevor Martyn, said he understood the hardships that many in the industry were going through, but warned that shutdowns were not the answer.
“Many owner drivers and small trucking companies are in crisis because of the spiralling price of diesel, which has gone up 50 cents per litre since last October. Many people in the trucking industry are now watching their life’s work collapse around them,” Mr Martyn said. “But going on strike and standing around truck stops for two weeks isn’t the answer. The price of diesel is going up across the world because of China’s massive demand for fuel. Holding a two-week strike in Australia will have no effect on prices at all.”

While the organisers claim that 80 per cent will strike, the ATA disputes this and suggest that disruptions will not be significant.