The Transport Workers' Union claims Aldi failed in its bid to silence truck drivers and unionists from speaking out about safety after the retail giant lost a Federal Court case last week. Aldi Australia has also responded.
Aldi truck drivers, TWU said, have raised concerns about being pushed to drive long hours, skip safety procedures, operate faulty trucks, work in stores and distribution centres with blocked fire exits, faulty electrics, filthy floors, rotting meat left out and no lighting during night deliveries.
TWU has also uncovered evidence of transport operators in the Aldi supply chain not training drivers adequately, not maintaining their trucks and failing to pay drivers proper rates and superannuation.
TWU National Secretary, Michael Kaine, said it was an important day for truck drivers and their right to speak out about safety.
“Aldi, a global retailer, tried to take on Australian truck drivers in a lengthy and costly legal battle and it failed.
"This case shows that companies like Aldi will try every law in the land to shut workers up but eventually the truth comes out. We will now write to Aldi asking them to meet us and discuss how they can make their supply chains safe.
"We hope they will take us up on this offer and help save lives," he said.
Aldi has since responded to TWU's claims.
"We feel vindicated with [the] judgement, as it has clearly been stated by the court that the TWU’s conduct has been misleading and deceptive," said a spokesperson from Aldi Australia.
"The judgement also acknowledges evidence that Aldi has made several attempts to engage with the TWU and they have not responded to our offers.
"The court also recognised the quality of our transport safety procedures. We do the right thing in our transport operations not because of pressure from outside parties or to meet regulatory requirements, we focus on the highest safety standards because it is consistent with one of our company’s core values – responsibility.
"The judgement determined that this legal action was justified in protecting Aldi’s commercial interests and was never about silencing Australian workers. All ALDI employees and the employees of our business partners have the right to freely join unions.
"We have not, and will not, work to silence the voice of Australia’s union movement. We simply demand that they tell the truth.
"It is disappointing that a legal technicality appears to allow the TWU to peddle lies and mistruths with impunity.
"We encourage anyone with interest in the case to refer to the published judgement."
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