Workers to lower speed limits to 40km
About 500 AWU road workers have unanimously voted to improve Victorian workplace safety by adopting 40 kilometre speed limits in road work zones where there are no traffic barriers. The workers also voted to lower speed limits to 25 kilometres an hour when the traffic is within one metre from the road work zone and no barriers are present. The two resolutions were developed with the support of the traffic control association and several major road contractors. AWU road workers will adopt their desired speed limits after September 30 2003. AWU National Secretary Bill Shorten said September 30 would give contractors enough notice to factor in the cost of any additional speed limit signage when negotiating their contracts. Workers expressed their anger at the lack of public support for their safety at their stop work meeting held last week at the Monee Valley Racecourse. One worker described how motorists speed past work zones exceeding the currently enforceable 60 kilometre limit. Another described how a rogue principal contractor left road workers to work at night without any lighting on the site. Mr Shorten said the workers just wanted the same safety standards as South Australia, which had legislated 40 kilometre speed limits in the state's road work zones. Road worker killed The call for tougher measures follows the tragic death of an AWU member struck by a runaway truck during his lunch break while working on the Geelong to Melbourne Road upgrade late last year. Mr Shorten said if the Victorian Government could legislate to lower speed limits around schools, it could lower the speed limits to protect road workers' safety. "If motorists do not respect 40 kilometre speed limits in work zones not protected by traffic barriers, we will do what is necessary to stop speeding traffic in order to protect our members' lives". He said the union would also be seeking to put the new 40 kilometre and 25 kilometre speed limits in all upcoming road work enterprise bargaining agreements. "We see safe speed limits as a condition of work and will ensure all future agreements contain the resolutions passed today.