Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Racism vs Taxi Drivers Safety in Victoria

Racism vs Taxi Drivers Safety in Victoria

Victorian Director General of Transport

It is the responsibility of civilized society to provide a safe workplace and safer work practices to workers under the Occupational Health and Safety legislation under the Duty of Care provisions. It is also a fundamental right of a worker to work in a safe work place that adheres to safe work practices.

In the state of New South Wales we had the Keatsdale Report, Dalziel Reports and Cook Reports which are relevant to to-days taxi drivers' safety initiatives in NSW. I believe the current Victorian taxi driver’s safety issues are not too different to their NSW counterparts. You are welcome to contact your NSW counterparts to obtain copies of these reports mentioned for some assistance or guidance should you wish to do so.

The commendable multicultural, Melbourne taxi drivers’ spontaneous blockade/strike was a genuine and legal one. No one should dismiss or minimise their great effort with blatant and pseudo racism as we have witnessed recently. For example, taking off shirts on a wintry night as these drivers did was a symbol of their actual working conditions and the industrial reality that they experience. These taxi drivers do not have cameras, a global positioning system, workable safety shields or anything in this so called 21st century Victorian work environment. In terms of safety, they are virtually naked and unprotected.

When super models take their bikinis or bras off in the middle of the town center to high light or draw attention to their causes, there is barely any criticism. That situation is unlike the recent outcry directed to these vulnerable Victorian taxi drivers and the protest style they used. Recent murmurings and attempts to smear Indian students in general, many of whom were involved in this Victorian protest, and their living practices so as to undermine and destruct these taxi driver’s spotlighting of unacceptable working conditions are purely racially driven. Many European and American backpackers and students also live in an identical cost effective and uncomfortable manner as some Indian students and by extension Indian origin taxi drivers are purported to do. This is blatant generalization designed to undermine the whole issue, which is the shameful and unsafe standard of working conditions and safety being experienced by Victorian taxi drivers.

Surely, a student or any workers poverty should not deny or diminish their basic industrial and safety related rights.

Faruque Ahmed
Mobile: 041 091 4118
Email: union_faruque@yahoo.com.au
Wednesday May 14, 2008

CC: NSW Director General of Transport