Aldi back in union crosshairs over safey concerns for transport workers


Hundreds of transport workers are protesting at Aldi Mt Druitt on Thursday, August 31, in a bid to have the supermarket giant sign up to principles on safe, fair and sustainable supply chains, ahead of the tabling of legislation to set enforceable standards in road transport.

It’s the latest in a long series of industrial action by the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) which is calling on newly-appointed Aldi Australia CEO Anna McGrath to follow the lead of Coles and Woolworths and work towards a union charter on safety and fairness in their supply chain.

The TWU said Aldi’s refusal to work with transport workers on safety in their supply chain, and two failed attempts in the Federal Court to silence truck drivers on safety, shows why it is urgent for federal parliament to pass legislation to enforce safe, fair and sustainable standards for all transport workers.

In the last financial year, there were 347 insolvencies in the transport industry, including Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics of which Aldi was a client, the union added in a statement.

“Aldi has been given numerous opportunities to come to the table on supply chain safety and fairness, and not only knocked them back but launched unprecedented legal action against transport workers, attempting to silence them on safety,” said TWU NSW/Qld state secretary Richard Olsen.

“With a new CEO, and legislation on the cusp of being introduced to federal parliament, participating in positive action to improve safety and fairness in its supply chain is the logical approach and the responsible approach for Aldi to take.

“Every day of delay is another day that transport workers are under deadly pressure from the top of the supply chain. While wealthy clients like Aldi reap mammoth profits, it’s workers and operators who end up footing the bill, teetering on razor-thin margins and under pressure to delay maintenance, speed, and drivers fatigued to make ends meet.

“While drivers and operators are being undercut from the wealthy clients at the top of the supply chain, the gig economy is pulling the rug out from underneath the industry through its exploitative model that drives down standards and conditions.

Olsen believes the whole industry is crying out for change and said Aldi must step in to ensure it plays its part.

“Only recently over a thousand workers across the country, backed by organisations across the transport industry, joined convoys calling for urgent transport reform. This industry is united as it has never been united before, and Aldi now has the opportunity to join that wave of support and work towards reducing the crisis in transport, instead of profiting from it. We’re calling on Federal Parliament to urgently back in that legislation when it is tabled.”

TWU said Aldi has failed to respond to a set of safety principles put to them in March, along with 39 other top retailers, food and beverage and agricultural companies.

Big Rig has contacted Aldi for comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend