Prime Mover Magazine

Aldi and TWU clash over working conditions claim

Supermarket company, Aldi, is under fire this week following calls from the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) to raise transport contract rates and end pressure on drivers and operators that reportedly cut corners on safety.

TWU said in a statement that Aldi has forced delays to maintenance on trucks and pushed drivers to speed, drive long hours and skip rest breaks.

Transport Workers' Union Secretary, Michael Kaine, said raising standards will make trucking safer and fairer.

"Too many people including truck drivers are dying because of pressure in the transport supply chain to cut corners," said Kaine.

"Profits at big retailers like Aldi are being put ahead of safety. This claim sets out how this behaviour can be addressed and how safety can be made the number one priority."

Kaine said big retailers like Aldi can help change industry.

The TWU has written to Aldi about these concerns and also concerns about standards throughout the Aldi supply chain which sees drivers paid flat rates instead of appropriate award rates and allowances, as well as poor training standards.

Aldi has reportedly refused to meet the TWU to discuss making its supply chain safer.

Today, Aldi released a statement claiming the TWU's organised protests this week were a series of media stunts, intimidating Aldi employees and "propagating lies and mistruths" regarding the supermarket company's business practices.

"The TWU has on multiple occasions accused Aldi of deaths on roads, underpaying employees, knowingly placing employees in harm's way, violating heavy vehicle regulations, poorly maintaining our transport fleet, ignoring responsibilities within our supply chain and silencing workers," Aldi said.

"All of these claims are lies and we will not stand accused of such actions.

Aldi said it upholds a number of principles in its business operations such as safe workplace, fair wage, 100 per cent compliance to road regulations and fatigue requirements, and that all employees and suppliers have a voice. "We encourage the TWU to stop harassing our retail employees and start representing the genuine interest of transport operators across Australia."

Last year, Aldi rolled out electronic fleet management devices across its transport operations.

In June 2018, TWU urged Aldi to reconsider its supply chain safety.

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