Aldi bears brunt of TWU national action


Mainland capitals see union members protest on range of issues

Aldi bears brunt of TWU national action
Aldi is facing TWU protests across mainland states

 

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has ramped up its pressure on supermarket chain Aldi, reiterating accusations of safety shortfalls, downward pressure on rates.

However, Aldi Australia has called on the union to present proof of its accusations so it can tackle any such issues.

Protests have been held in in Adelaide, Sydney’s west, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane with the union demanding that Aldi "ends its federal court action to stop drivers protesting and speaking out about its poor safety record and low rates".

"Aldi is running rough shod over the transport industry, putting pressure on transport operators and drivers through its low cost contracts to take appalling risks that endanger lives," TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon, who attended the rally in Adelaide, says.

"It is also trying to silence drivers and keep a lid on its dodgy practices."

The union states that Aldi truck drivers have described "major breaches of fatigue rules and harassment for raising concerns".

"When one driver repeatedly challenged schedules which meant he had as little as three hours sleep, he was told by his Aldi manager: ‘Maybe you need to go faster’," it claims

"Aldi also refuses to acknowledge that its low cost contracts are the reason some transport operators it engages don’t maintain their vehicles or pay their drivers fairly."

The supermarket chain has rejected previous claims and has explained its position.

 

An Aldi manager provides a video message shared with Aldi transport staff

 

"Aldi provides superior conditions of employment and is committed to the safety of our employees, contractors and the community," a spokesperson says..

Aldi shares the Transport Workers Union’s (TWU) goal of a safe transport industry in order to prevent truck driver deaths.

"We respect the right of the TWU to protest. Our hope is that they take peaceful action that does not cause disruption to Aldi’s operations or create safety issues for our Transport Operators or supplier drivers.

"We have made contact with our targeted stores to advise them of the TWU’s intentions to protest. Our priority is to minimise disruptions and ensure the safety of our customers and employees.

"Despite Aldi’s request for specific information about alleged issues within our supply chain, the TWU have not provided any evidence to support their claims. We remain open to dialogue with the TWU in relation to these allegations.

"Due to the seriousness of the allegations, we have taken the precautionary measure of writing to our supplier base to remind them of our expectation and policies in relation to safety throughout our supply chain.

"In addition, we are conducting an anonymous survey of our supply chain drivers to help uncover any potential concerns. No information received to date validates any of the claims made by the TWU.

"Aldi employs our Transport Operators under Enterprise Agreements approved by the Fair Work Commission. The rates of pay set out for Transport Operators compare favourably to the rates which would otherwise be paid under the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010. We value our employees and pride ourselves on paying our staff well.

"Aldi participates in the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) and our maintenance and fatigue management programs for our fleet and drivers operate in accordance with this Scheme.

"We closely monitor the transport function and conduct a comprehensive annual audit as required under the NHVAS to ensure compliance in every aspect of our operation."

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