Queensland’s peak motoring body RACQ is standing by its decision to sack a tow truck driver who was caught in a difficult situation involving a quadriplegic motorist.
Murray French, 51, was fired for breaching company policy when he left the driver inside a broken down vehicle during a tow from the M1 – the state’s busiest motorway – in February.
But Mr French claims there was no way he could safely remove the disabled man from the car.
“They have the right to set their protocols and to believe they should be obeyed, I have no problem with that,” he said during a protest organised by the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) on Thursday.
“In this case, a little bit of flexibility is all I’m asking.”
More than a dozen union supporters marched into RACQ’s Eight Mile Plains office and demanded to speak to management.
Mr French insisted he saved the driver from a dangerous situation, but RACQ spokesman Paul Turner said he had instead created an even more dangerous one.
“These are very well-established processes developed over many years of working in very unsafe environments,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate for the tow truck driver involved … but we will not compromise on safety.”
The matter is headed to the Fair Work Commission and Mr Turner said RACQ was confident in its evidence because Mr French had broken the law.
He rejected that it was a no-win situation to be caught in, saying Mr French could have called emergency services or waited for one of 18 other trucks that were within a 40km radius.
“He had a lot of options, and he took the wrong one.”
TWU secretary Peter Biagini said RACQ had treated the union with “utter contempt” by threatening to call the police during their protest.
“We’re missing a lot of commonsense in our society today,” he said.
“Murray used that and he’s been crucified for it. That’s a real shame.”
Mr Turner said the union was trying to intimidate the company into reversing a decision it felt strongly about.
Mr French, who was worked for the company for over eight years, believed RACQ “as a whole” was a great organisation.