TWU continues pressure on Coles after Woolworths comes around

One half of the Supermarket duopoly, Woolworths, has made encouraging public commitments to playing their part in tackling the lethal pressures in trucking while the other half, Coles, continues to stick their head in the sand.

Charles Pauka, Transport and Logistics News, 17 January 2013

Woolworths has recently announced the company’s commitment to work with the Government’s Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, which has put the retail sector at the top of their list for investigation in 2013, and to support safety concepts, such as the ‘Five Star Trucking’ initiative in New South Wales, and higher driver remuneration in the road transport industry.
“Recent comments from Woolworths’ National Transport Manager are encouraging for everyone in the road transport industry and for anyone who is determined to tackle the lethal pressures that make driving a truck the most dangerous job in Australia,” said Tony Sheldon, national secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU).
“Together with others in the industry, we are keen to engage with Woolworths on how we can translate its comments into real action to reduce the lethal demands on truck drivers and transport companies brought on by client pressure.
“This refreshing willingness to engage by Woolworths on the major issues in the road transport industry – safety, rates of pay, pressure on drivers and the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, stands in sharp contrast with the behaviour of Coles.
“Despite the mountain of evidence from more than 20 years of research, which has proven time and again the link between rates of pay and safety, Coles continues to stick their head in the sand and deny any responsibility for the safe transport of its goods.
“Coles continues to hide behind misleading statements that all of its freight is carried by major transport operators when absolutely everyone in the industry knows that there are hundreds of owner-drivers and small fleet operators who carry its goods every day. The facts are clear – Coles is using its economic power to squeeze truckies on rates of pay, schedules and delivery windows. A recent survey of truckies has shown that 40% of drivers in the Coles supply chain say that they cannot afford to even take their truck off the road for essential maintenance.
“We look forward to cooperating with Woolworths on the serious issues facing truckies and transport companies and hope that this brings Coles and other major Transport Workers’ Union retailers one step closer to taking responsibility for the safe transportation of their goods and a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work from truckies.”

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