Female truck driver calls for greater equality at truckstops

WHEN pilot driver Ali Murray pulled up to the Caltex Truckstop North Rockhampton all she wanted was to fuel up, have a meal, a shower and a sleep.

But when Ali asked to use the shower facilities she said she was questioned as to how many people she'd be taking with her.

Brisbane-based Ali said she was embarrassed by the implication she was a sex worker, especially as she was surrounded by other male truck and pilot drivers who were given access without question.

Yesterday southern media outlets reported her concerns about the alleged incident.

Female road pilots being discriminated against at truckstops

Ali later told The Morning Bulletin the matter had been resolved following the article.

She said the service at the truckstop had always been good, with cheery staff, and believed the comments had been the result of miscommunication between management and staff

But she said the matter of discrimination between male and female drivers was a wider issue.

Although she has only worked in the transport industry for about 10 months, Ali said she had faced similar treatment at three other truckstops.

"We all should be treated equal and definitely not harassed," Ali said.

"It is hard being a female in a male dominated industry because you are questioned (where men are not)."

Ali said even calling all pilot drivers "escorts" didn't go down well as the only woman in a room full of men. She said some problems could be avoided if all truckstops made it clear to staff which people were able to use the shower facilities for free.

The Morning Bulletin went to the truckstop for comment yesterday, but was directed to the Caltex media department.

Caltex yesterday told The Morning Bulletin the North Rockhampton truckstop was operated by a franchisee who was responsible for staff.

In a statement, they said they were only made aware of the incident after being approached by another media outlet, but were now investigating.

They said all transport industry employees were welcome to use the shower facilities at the truckstop.

"Any staff comments of this nature would be highly offensive and are certainly not in line with what we would expect of anyone representing the Caltex brand," they said.

"It's also contrary to our company values. Caltex is very disappointed at the allegation made, particularly given our strong commitment to equality and the fact that we are a major brand within the transport industry ourselves.

"We wouldn't want this type of treatment of any of our drivers and nor should any customer expect this type of behaviour either."

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