A further tough year ahead, perhaps a decade for Gunns and Forestry Tasmania

Having checked the stars and examined at great length the entrails of a recently departed chicken, I predict a further tough year, perhaps a decade, ( poor reception on the crystal ball), for Gunns and Forestry Tasmania.

Protest action against the two will no doubt be the norm as destructive practices continue and Tasmania’s forests are sold at peppercorn prices with the consent of Labor Premier David Bartlett.

Now you don’t have to be a sage to predict this future. It is obvious to everyone.

Protest action will mean loss of earnings for both loggers and truck drivers, collateral damage, in actions against bigger targets.

The real targets are both much larger. Both Gunns and Forestry are content to watch the war of words and make the most of tension and violence between loggers and protesters as was witnessed in the Florentine and more recently at Triabunna.

Most other industries have a ‘downtime’ clause in their contracts. Workers are not penalised and are still paid wages if circumstances occur that is outside of their control. A reasonable employer does not penalise you if a foreseeable event occurs, (such as a power outage, delivery delays or indeed protests).

Lost time must be factored into every contract as protests are predictable.

Timber workers must demand far more from their contracts to ensure that, through no fault of their own, they do not lose earnings.

Why are truckies and loggers treated differently by their employers? Why aren’t they represented better?

Hopefully both Tas. Forest Contractors and Timber Communities Australia executives have studied their own chickens and will do much more for the members that they claim to represent. They must demand a better deal for their workers.

It all depends as to who really pulls the strings.

Tony Saddington.