TWU and Aldi in court bat­tle

Owner Driver - - Owner / Driver -

THE TRANS­PORT Work­ers Union (TWU) is con­tin­u­ing its cam­paign against cut-price su­per­mar­ket chain Aldi for what it says are safety con­cerns aris­ing from driv­ers’ low­cost con­tracts.

Its lat­est protest, which was held on Au­gust 24 out­side the Mt Druitt Aldi store in western Syd­ney, at­tracted more than 500 truck driv­ers and TWU mem­bers.

TWU rep­re­sen­ta­tives say the su­per­mar­ket chain pres­sures driv­ers into un­safe prac­tices to meet tight dead­lines, po­ten­tially re­sult­ing in fa­tigue law breaches and speed­ing.

The protest fol­lows a re­cent Fed­eral Court re­jec­tion of Aldi’s bid for an in­junc­tion to stop driv­ers protest­ing and stop­ping them from re­veal­ing in­for­ma­tion about rates and con­di­tions in its sup­ply chain.

Aldi, how­ever, told the Fed­eral Court on Au­gust 29 that it wanted to pur­sue the case.

“Aldi is try­ing to use bul­ly­ing tac­tics to si­lence truck driv­ers and their sup­port­ers in high­light­ing the prob­lems with safety in the Aldi sup­ply chain. But driv­ers will not give up,” says TWU na­tional sec­re­tary Tony Shel­don.

“They have the right to de­mand safe work­places, safe roads and fair con­di­tions.

“Wealthy re­tail­ers must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their low-cost trans­port con­tracts which see truck driv­ers un­der pres­sure to cut safety cor­ners by driv­ing long hours, speed­ing and skip­ping their manda­tory rest breaks.

“This pres­sure is lit­er­ally killing peo­ple on our roads.” Ear­lier, an Aldi spokesper­son told

Owner//Driver that the su­per­mar­ket chain de­nies claims made about pres­sure placed on driv­ers, and en­sures they’re com­pli­ant across their trans­port op­er­a­tions.

“Aldi strongly de­nies any sug­ges­tion that we place pres­sure on trans­port com­pa­nies or truck driv­ers to oper­ate un­safely,” the spokesper­son said.

“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.

“We value our em­ploy­ees and pride our­selves on pay­ing our staff well.”

Aldi is sep­a­rately ap­peal­ing a Fed­eral Court de­ci­sion, which the TWU says struck down a bo­gus en­ter­prise agree­ment voted on by two mem­bers of staff. The TWU says the agree­ment de­nied min­i­mum award rates and clas­si­fied driv­ers of large trucks as store work­ers.

Truck driver and for­mer Aus­tralian Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion coun­cil­lor Frank Black, who at­tended an Aldi protest in Adelaide on Au­gust 16, says driv­ers felt they had no choice but to pub­licly high­light prob­lems in Aldi’s sup­ply chain.

“What have Aldi got to hide? They need to stop try­ing to si­lence driv­ers and come to the ta­ble and talk about safety,” Black says.

Tony Shel­don has ac­cused Aldi of bul­ly­ing tac­tics to si­lence truck driv­ers

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