Industry News

Union truckies revive Aldi protest action ahead of new legislation

Over 100 hundred transport workers and supporters kicked off an ongoing safety campaign with a Transport Workers’ Union protest at Aldi South Fremantle today.

Union truckies are serving a claim on Aldi to become a responsible transport employer and a responsible transport client.

Aldi directly employs some truck drivers but the TWU said it doesn’t have a transport enterprise agreement to provide appropriate pay, conditions and safety protections.

The rest of Aldi’s transport work is contracted out to operators, but unlike Coles and Woolworths, the union said Aldi has refused to negotiate a supply chain safety charter with the TWU to ensure all transport workers it engages have safe, fair working conditions.

“We will keep coming back until Aldi commits to making our roads safer,” said TWU WA secretary Tim Dawson at today’s protest.

Safety breaches have been raised at Aldi stores, both by workers across the country and through inspections from the NSW safety regulator. These include:

Crush injury risks
Fall from height risks
Poor traffic management
Inadequate training on loading and unloading of heavy vehicles
Fire hazards
Faulty equipment
Pressure to work long hours and meet tight deadlines
Fear of being targeted for being a union member

The claim on Aldi calls for:

A national road transport enterprise agreement for employees;
A supply chain safety charter for contracted-out transport work;
A voice for workers; and
To join with industry to lift standards in transport.

In August, new laws come into effect to empower the Fair Work Commission to set standards in transport. The TWU said it will use the legislation to hold Aldi to account if the supermarket refuses to work with transport workers on safety and fairness.

“Now is not the time for Aldi to bury its head in the sand and ignore its responsibility for safety in transport – Australia’s deadliest industry,” said TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.

“The whole of the transport industry including clients Coles and Woolworths, transport employers, owner driver associations and transport workers have come together to call for a safer, fairer and more sustainable industry. Federal Parliament responded by passing lifesaving reform. But Aldi was nowhere to be seen.”

An Aldi spokersperson told Big Rigs that it recognises its role as a key player in the transport industry and takes proactive measures to ensure that its commitment to driver safety is consistently maintained.

“Road transport safety is, and has always been, central to our transport operations,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the supermarket giant already has a Safety and Corporate Responsibility Charter in place to “build responsible and strong compliance practices by our employees, suppliers and contractors”.

“It outlines our expectations to comply with all applicable transport laws, and our high safety and labour standards, and all participants in the supply chain are audited against this charter annually.

“We have tried on numerous occasions to have productive conversations with the TWU about this charter, and have repeatedly sought details about the safety allegations they have made. The TWU has refused to engage with Aldi.”

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The post Union truckies revive Aldi protest action ahead of new legislation appeared first on Big Rigs.

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