Low-cost freight a death trap

AFR Letters, 31 August 2017

The Transport Workers' Union is surprised to read that Aldi is willing to enter "direct dialogue" on road safety, as reported in "Aldi accused of attacking 'free speech' in bid to censor union campaign" (August 30).

This follows repeated requests from my union to meet Aldi. In a letter in May, the retailer informed us it simply did "not consider a meeting to be appropriate at this time".
Wealthy retailers hold much of the power in transport, since they are responsible for a sizeable proportion of freight movement and they dictate the terms and conditions of contracts to move their goods.
Low-cost contracts by retailers are a deadly kick-start in the supply chain which sees truck maintenance postponed and drivers under financial pressure to speed, drive long hours and skip mandatory rest breaks. People are dying in truck crashes on our roads because of this pressure. Not only is Aldi refusing to accept its role in this, it is also trying to stop truck drivers and the TWU from highlighting its role through peaceful protests, social media and other communications. This is an important case not only for democratic rights, but also to ensure our voice can continue to be heard in raising concerns about safety on our roads.
Tony Sheldon, national secretary
Transport Workers' Union
Sydney, NSW

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