Provide the proof, Coles tells TWU


Supermarket giant Coles is calling on the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to back up its claims of safety breaches as veteran truckies held a protest yesterday. <br /><br /> A handful of protesters, who have been in the transport industry for more than 40 years, united outside Coles’s headquarters in Sydney calling on the company to take responsibility for the pressures in the trucking industry.

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | August 15, 2012

Supermarket giant Coles is calling on the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to back up its claims of safety breaches as veteran truckies held a protest yesterday.

A handful of protesters, who have been in the transport industry for more than 40 years, united outside Coles’s headquarters in Sydney calling on the company to take responsibility for the pressures in the trucking industry.

TWU is accusing Coles of using its control over the market to squeeze its supply chain and drive down wages, conditions and safety standards in the industry.

TWU National Assistant Secretary Michael Kaine says Coles is the "real aggressor in the market".

"Transport suppliers are getting squeezed and the harder they get squeezed the tougher it is for the truckies who have to perform the work," Kaine says.

"Coles is squeezing every dollar out of the transport operators and that means that drivers have to work long and fast to make a living."

Coles media spokesman Jim Cooper says TWU’s claims are "unfounded" and is calling on evidence to alleged road safety breaches.

He says Coles takes safe transport practices very seriously, with the transport business being managed by large and reputable providers such Linfox and Toll who are "rightly proud" of their safety record.

"No way do our transport contracts with such companies force drivers into unsafe or illegal practices," he says.

"We require our transport operators to comply with all safety laws and regulations and all our freight contracts include fatigue management programs."

A recent TWU national survey of more than 700 truck drivers has revealed that 78 percent of them would not recommend truck driving as a career option due to the increased pressures and dangers associated with the industry.

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