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Transport workers protest for better truck driver wages from big retailers Coles

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AWU truck drivers protest at Redcliffe.

Transport workers protest march along Redcliffe parade, finishing outside Coles. Source: Quest Newspapers

FRANK Black is no stranger to the dangers of driving for a living - the owner/driver has lost mates on the road and been involved in a crash himself in his 27 years behind the wheel.

The Coopers Plains driver joined dozens of other truckies and their families at Coles Redcliffe this morning for the start of a series of protests around the country on behalf of the Transport Workers' Union (TWU).

Mr Black said it was a timely issue ahead of the Federal election.

"We fought for almost twenty years to get safe rates for truckies on the political agenda, with the establishment of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal last year.

But now that's under threat, with the Federal Coalition pledging an 'urgent review' if they win the election.

It doesn't make sense- why would the Coalition want to review the best shot we have ever had to stop the carnage on our roads?"

Peaceful protesters marched from Bee Gees Way down Redcliffe Pde to the supermarket, before hosting a barbecue on the waterfront.

TWU Queensland secretary Peter Biagini said economic pressure from clients like Coles and Woolworths forced drivers to meet "impossible schedules and unrealistic deadlines at dangerously low rates of pay".

But Coles workers at the scene handed out a flyer, stating Coles always put the safety of drivers first.

"We believe TWU has made false claims,'' the statement said.

"Fatalities involving trucks have declined 19 per cent in the last five years despite the massive increase in products moved by roads."

"More trucks, fewer accidents. Coles puts safety first."

But Mr Biagini said truck driving was still the most dangerous job in Australia, with a death rate 11 times the average for all other workers.

"Each year hundreds of people are killed in truck crashes and thousands more are injured, devastating families, communities and workplaces."

More than 20 years of evidence from coroners, cross-party inquiries and independent academic research time and again the link between rates of pay for truck drivers and safe roads for everyone.

"Despite this weight of evidence, companies like Coles continue to use their economic power to push safety down its supply chain and the results can be lethal."

Federal ALP Member for Petrie Yvette D'Ath attended the gathering in support.

As part of the Driving For Road Safety Campaign, TWU members and their families will be protesting around the country.

Source: couriermail

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