Truck Drivers vs Wharfies

On Monday I explored the differences between Teachers and Wharfies and some moaned that Teachers were hardly in a dangerous job, so then I looked at Police vs Wharfies, the Police are woefully underpaid for the amount of danger they experience compared to the rather benign working environment of wharfies.

People still complained that the comparison wasn’t really accurate because wharfies use heavy machinery like straddle cranes and swing lifters and move big heavy items like containers around.

So what better comparison then that a truck driver. According to Careers NZ the wage conditions of truckdrivers are:

Straddle carriers and trucks in a port

Image via Wikipedia

Heavy truck drivers usually earn between $15 and $25 an hour, or about $31,000 to $52,000 a year. These rates assume a 40-hour week but many truck drivers work more than this, some up to 65 hours a week.

However, pay can vary greatly depending on the:

  • type of goods being transported
  • size of the vehicle being driven
  • region you work in
  • company you work for
  • length of the trip.

I also checked by giving a trucking company CEO, who is a mate of mine, a call and asked him what the most his best wages driver earned last year. He said that it topped out at $70,000 mainly because a truck driver simply is unable to work the hours due to driving hours regulations. The most one of his drivers could work in a week including driving and non-driving time was 70 hours. They are off course driving equipment valued with a replacement cost well in excess of $500,000.

Not only that he pointed out that unlike wharfies who use their equipment in a controlled and flat environment, his drivers used all the same equipment to load containers, or loose items, or cars and vehicles onto the trucks, then drove thouse trucks onto the Motorway network and suburban streets to their customers depots where they again operated items like fork lifts and straddle carriers and off course swing lifters to load and unload the deliveries. Not only that they have the entire Police force laying in wait to catch them out for missing log book entries, expired RUC, mechanical defects, speeding and all manner of others things. Not to mention attempting to avoid all manner of other road users doing their crazy thing on the roads.

I also asked aobut health insurance plans and leave and the such and was met with silence and a comment about statutory requirements.

So in essence a truck driver is doing all of high risk usage of heavy machinery and in many instances the exact same machinery, but having to work every bit of 70 hours a week to attain the maximum possible of $70,000 while a wharfie works just 28 hours for every 40 hours rostered, scores $91,000 plus benefits, 5 weeks leave and a full medical insurance plan for them and their family.

The job comparison is fair. The wage comparison and conditions are not. Wharfies think they are hard done by but when you compare with similar industries you find that they are very well compensated. The only real difference being the closed shop and lack of comeptition has enabled them to rort the employers for far too long. The Ports of Auckland is now moving to bring the Port into the 21st Century.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.