Pictured: a woman looks out of a truck window. Photo by Adam Jones adamjones.freeservers.com
Australia’s road transport industry has a long way to go in ensuring gender equity it would seem. New research has found that female employees in this key Australian sector experience misogyny, bullying and discrimination. They’re also paid less than men and are under-promoted too. In other Down Under Trucking news: mistake is no defence to trucking crime; supermarket boosts safety after loading dock death; logistics giant snaps up drayage business; and CTI Logistics expects a small profit.
Survey reveals women’s participation and experiences in transport
About 26.4 percent of all transport workers in Australia are women and 47.1 percent are working in the road transport sector, says a new survey carried out by fleet software management company, Teletrac Navman. Female transport workers overwhelmingly work in the road transport sector – 47.1 percent worked in this sector. About 35.1 work in rail and a small percentage worked in the bus industry. Other transport modes were not addressed.
There’s a wide range of ages through the transport workforce, the survey found, with 26.9 percent between 26-35 years of age; 29.9 percent aged between 36 and 45 years of age; and 25.9 percent aged between 46-55 years of age.
However, digging into the data reveals that the road transport industry, and the transport sector generally, still has a way to go to achieve anything like gender parity. There is a gender-pay gap with a $21,923 difference in average total remuneration, which is a 19.5 percent pay gap in the transport sectors. The mean average salary for a female employee in transport is A$62,400 but the pay range varies from A$56,000 to A$80,000 per year.
Meanwhile, about 44.5 of female transport employees in Australia work in administration. Only 6.5 percent of driver positions are held by women and only 13.2 percent of engineering jobs are held by women. As there is such an under-representation of women in the more highly skilled and paid jobs, that explains in part why there is gender pay gap. However it then begs the question of why there aren’t more female engineers, operations staff and drivers.
Women also experience discrimination in transport, the survey found.
“Feeling undervalued and experiencing misogyny, bullying and discrimination are common concerns for women working in transport. Female employees also say men with less experience are often promoted above them, while they stay in lower-paying positions. There’s also a 19.5 percent gender pay gap in transport with a A$21,923 difference in average total remuneration. Meanwhile, 72.1 percent of women say that they have faced, or believe they will face, discrimination in transport,” according to the report.
Meanwhile, about half of all transport business have a gender equality strategy, whereas 58 percent of wholesale businesses, 57.4 percent of retail businesses and 57.1 percent of agricultural businesses have an equality strategy.
Trucker finds that mistake is no defence to a criminal charge
He was charged with working for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period in breach of s250(1) of the Heavy Vehicle National Law. A solo driver of a heavy vehicle commits a criminal offence under that law if he or she works more than maximum work time allowed.
Working more than 13.5 hours is defined in law as being a “critical risk breach” and carries the potential for the highest level of fine. Currently, that’s A$16,510 (US$11,207).
It is not specifically stated what, exactly, the driver, referred to only as “Mr. Ballantyne,” was arguing for his grounds of appeal. The judges only noted that the prosecution had not made a mistake. But, from the language used by the judge, it appears that Ballantyne was arguing that the prosecution had made a mistake in deciding what time periods to count as being at work and what to count as the 24-hour period in which work was done.
“In short, I find that the prosecution was here justified in selecting the end of the particular major rest break as being the start of a relevant 24-hour period, and that the appellant recorded 13 and three quarter hours during that particular 24-hour period. In the circumstances of this case that is sufficient to prove the charged offence,” Judge Peek said.
The judge went on to make some interesting comments and expressed sympathy for the trucker.
“I will say that I consider that the appellant did not intentionally transgress… I accept that he thought that, on what he considered to be the appropriate approach to the 24-hour period calculation, he had not exceeded the 12-hour limit.
“I should add that the [trucker argues] that the Act itself is very long, complex and hard for ordinary people to read or understand; and also that the examples given in the log books issued to truck drivers are not as clear as they might be. I must say that he does have something of a point here,” Judge Peek said.
The judge added that log books could be made more user friendly and could state “loudly and clearly” that there can be two overlapping 24-hour periods running at the same time following the end of a major rest break.
“The trap for the driver in such circumstances is that when he commences the new 24-hour period following the major rest break he may… appreciate fully that for some hours the old period may also still be running… [and it] may result in his quota for the old 24-hour period being exceeded,” the judge said.
However, Judge Peek concluded that, regardless of the problems with the Act and log books, there was no reason in law to grant the trucker’s appeal.
Supermarket chain boosts loading dock safety after death
A major supermarket chain in Australia, Woolworths, has committed almost A$1.8 million to loading dock safety after a man was run over and crushed by a prime mover.
An unidentified 47-year old man had fallen asleep in the loading dock area at Hibiscus Shopping Center at Leanyer, a suburb in the Northern Territory city of Darwin. Tragically, the driver of a prime mover leaving the loading dock did not see the sleeping man and ran over him.
Woolworths was charged under section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulations for failure to comply with health and safety duties.
Woolworths offered a court-enforceable undertaking to the local health and safety regulator, NT WorkSafe, which has been accepted.
Woolworths offered to provide:
- capital upgrades to back-docks of all its Northern Territory stores to enhance traffic control
- video messaging for all staff to be used as part of their key risk program
- refresher training for all Northern Territory managers on legal compliance
- installation of defibrillators at all Northern Territory stores
- deliver free industry seminars on lessons learned and Woolworths’ health and safety practices
- develop and publish a retail dock safety guide
- fund research into continuous control monitoring through the use of digital technology in relation to dock areas and pedestrians
- donation of 17 defibrillators to the community to a local ambulance group.
Woolworths committed A$1.69 million to workers and the workplace; A$57,000 to industry and A$51,500 to the community.
Acting Executive Director NT WorkSafe, Melissa Garde said, “being struck by a vehicle or other mobile plant like forklifts, is a major hazard in workplaces across the country. Shopping centres have a high level of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and the Hibiscus Shopping Centre loading dock was routinely used as a short-cut. All retailers should look at their traffic management arrangements to ensure a similar incident doesn’t occur at their workplace.”
Logistics giant Qube acquires 98.4 percent of Chalmers
As previously reported, the directors of Chalmers had recommended that shareholders accept Qube’s offer which was said to represent “a substantial and attractive premium.”
Chalmers’ shareholders were offered a choice of either 2.31 fully paid ordinary shares in Qube (the “scrip” offer) for each Chalmers share held or A$6.50 cash for each Chalmers share (the “cash” offer).
Given the scale of the acceptance, Qube is now exercising its rights to compulsorily acquire the remaining shares. The few remaining shareholders are able to choose between either the scrip or the cash offer. Chalmers shareholders who do not reply will automatically be given Qube shares as compensation.
Chalmers offers drayage services in Melbourne and Brisbane, 24 hours a day Monday through Friday. It owns more than 100 vehicles. It also runs container parks and biosecurity facilities. Chalmers incurred a small loss of about A$300,000 last year.
CTI Logistics issues small profit guidance
CTI Logistics (ASX: CLX), which operates a fleet of about 750 trucks and which officers courier services, parcels, warehousing, taxi trucks, fleet management, line haul and freight forwarding among many other services, has announced that it will likely make a small profit before tax of about A$4 million for the year ended June 30. EBITDA for the year is expected to be A$14.9 million on revenues of A$211.9 million.
“The results for the second half to 30 June 2019 have produced a marginal profit and are significantly below that of the prior corresponding period. The results have been impacted by the state of the economy, particularly in Western Australia, with significant reductions in activity and increase margin pressure across a wide range of clients,” the company said in a statement.