Truckers Blockade Businesses in Australia
May 23, 2000
Australian truckers unhappy with long working hours and unsatisfactory pay conditions have been blockading businesses in the country's eastern city of Brisbane.
According to Hughie Williams, Transport Worker's Union Queensland secretary, the blockade outside truck depots in the suburb of Acacia Ridge was part of an ongoing national campaign by the TWU and an indefinite strike by owner/drivers. "We want to let everybody see that we mean business and we are not going to stop this dispute until the proper rates of pay have been paid," Williams said in an interview with ABC radio. "Owner/drivers in the industry haven't had many rate increases in the last ten years and in that time, the cost of running a truck has multiplied many times."
Truck drivers took part in demonstrations in the states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia on Friday in a bid to have the trucking industry regulated by the federal government.
Drivers were being asked to work up to 20 hours a day and stood to lose six to seven percent of their income as a result of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST), which would lower their cartage rates by $150, according to Williams.