Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Truckies' fuel protest clogs highway

Truckies want Commonwealth compensation for fuel and repair costs.

About 100 truck drivers are protesting against rising fuel and repair costs by driving slowly into south-west Sydney in a convoy, causing heavy traffic on the Hume Highway.

A slow-moving convoy of trucks has travelled north along the Hume Highway and the M5 motorway from the Sutton Forest service centre, south-west of the city, to the Crossroads at Casula at about 60 kilometres an hour.

Drivers travelling north from Wagga Wagga, Albury and Melbourne joined the go slow along the way, in the second protest to be staged by truckies this month.

Highway traffic is heavy between Narellan and Casula, in south-west Sydney.

Transport Workers Union spokesman Richard Olsen says unfair contracts have forced truck drivers to absorb a spike in fuel prices, while Coles and Woolworths pass on cost increases to customers.

Mr Olsen says the truckies are calling on the Federal Government to introduce legislation that would allow cost recovery from major retailers and compensate drivers for repair costs.

"A lot of these guys have not only mortgaged the house but everything else they own to keep the truck on the road," he said.

"We're still attempting to get a national determination to cover truck drivers, employees and owner drivers to get cost recovery and have safe sustainable rates within our industry for truck drivers to get paid for the work they do."

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