Truck strike action cancelled in WA

29 Jul, 2008 09:00 AM
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A convoy of trucks motors along the Graham Farmer Freeway to protest against high fuel prices. Photo: John Chan.
A convoy of trucks motors along the Graham Farmer Freeway to protest against high fuel prices. Photo: John Chan.

A planned two-week truck strike that was expected to disrupt supplies to supermarkets, service stations and retailers has been called off at the last minute in Western Australia.

About 50 drivers met in Kewdale yesterday morning to protest against low pay rates, safety regulations and soaring fuel and registration costs, which they say is forcing some rigs off the road.

It was linked to strike action pushed by two Queensland groups - the Australian Long Distance Owners and Drivers Association (ALDODA) and the National Road Transport Forum (NRTF).

Supermarkets, service stations and retailers had plans in place to cope with the expected disruption.

But after the meeting this morning, the truckies voted to call off the strike, minutes before the convoy was to leave for Parliament House.

The strike was being organised by the Australian Long Distance Owners and Drivers Association and the National Road Transport Forum.

It did not have the backing of the Transport Workers Union, which claimed its impact would be limited.

ALDODA WA president Peter Swift said the Perth drivers voted to return to work today rather than push ahead with a two-week strike.

"They voted against it,'' Mr Swift said.

"Not many people turned up really, you can't expect 50 people to turn up and stop working while everybody else keeps working.

"It's disappointing to be honest.''

Mr Swift said truckies decided they wanted to talk to state and federal governments before taking any further action.

The association's members will meet again next week.

"We want changes. We want some protection," he said.

"We want the government to look into fuel and why diesel is so dear."

He said drivers across the country wanted the Federal Government to introduce a standard minimum pay rate and a guarantee that the cost of fuel would not exceed more than one third of their salary.

The convoy drove to Kings Park in a symbolic gesture today, before drivers returned to work. They had earlier intended to circle Parliament in protest.

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