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Pacific National has told customers it has banned truck drivers from access to amenities at its terminals, though indications are that the situation is in flux.
In advice sent yesterday, the rail firm points to safety as the reason for the move.
"We have put in place controls and protocols to keep our workforce and community safe, and this includes isolating frontline crews, adding additional cleaning protocols and managed remote working for non-operational staff," it says.
"As a further action to protect the health of our workforce and to control the risk of Covid-19 exposure, Pacific National hereby advises that, customer vehicle and truck drivers will no longer have access to amenities at Pacific National sites, effective Thursday 9 February [sic], until further notice.
"This includes bathrooms, changerooms and kitchens. We look forward to once again providing you access to our amenities, once Covid-19 is behind us all."
The change is greeted with outrage at the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), which demanded its immediate reversal, saying truck drivers needed and deserved to have access to clean facilities.
"We are all in the coronavirus epidemic together, and will only get through it together," ATA CEO Ben Maguire says.
"The truck drivers arriving at Pacific National terminals may have been on the road for hours. They are a key part of the chain that links Pacific National to its customers.
"And yet Pacific National has forgotten this.
"They have forgotten that drivers are important.
"They have forgotten that drivers are human beings.
"The executives of Pacific National would be outraged if they were told they could no longer use the toilets in their offices or homes, if they are privileged enough to have a job where they can work remotely.
"And yet that’s what they’ve just done to the drivers who help them stay in business.
"Pacific National should wake up, read the Team Australia memo, and reverse this decision. Today."
Pacific National is the first company to be called out under the ATA’s Keep Them Open campaign.
"Through the campaign, we are working to keep roadhouses, truck stops and facilities at customers sites open across the country," Maguire says.
ATN is seeking responses from Pacific National and federal transport minister Michael McCormack’s office.
This article first appeared on www.fullyloaded.com.au
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