As truck drivers are being threatened to join the next week’s national shutdown by owner driver groups, unions have warned a legal action will be sought if any drivers suffer losses from the industrial action.
According to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the organisers of the industrial action, the Australian Long Distance Owners & Drivers Association (ALDODA), have circulated an email that says: “Responsibilities will not be held by any of the shutdown organisers for the safety of any driver who continues to drive while the shutdown is on.
“We need your understanding that desperate people do desperate things…so to ensure your own safety please DON’T KEEP DRIVING.”
It also warned some drivers are likely to be targeted if they are caught driving during the action.
“This is an unfortunate part of any dispute; innocent people do get hurt.”
ATA chairman Trevor Martyn said the organisers of the action had a moral responsibility to ensure it does not lead to violence.
“They organised the shutdown, and now it is their responsibility to make sure it doesn’t get out hand. They can’t hide behind glib disclaimers and phrases like ‘innocent people do get hurt’,” he said.
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) chief executive Philip Lovel also said the fringe group’s action was “absolutely abhorrent.”
Mr Lovel said the VTA has obtained legal advice and will be writing to the ALDODA and other fringe groups to put them on notice that damages will be sought if transport companies suffer losses through any illegal actions. .
“The VTA has contacted the Assistant Police Commissioner to ensure public roads and facilities are open to all motorists. I have also sought legal advice as to any legal consequences this group will face from this stupid and irresponsible action,” he said.
“Drivers and businesses are entitled to go about their lawful daily business without hindrance, intimidation or harassment.”
Mr Lovel said: “We understand owner-drivers are concerned over rising costs and increased regulations, but governments will not back down on regulations designed to increase safety.
“Rather than stopping work for two weeks, owner-drivers should be working with prime contractors and customers to review contracts and fuel levies.”