TWU Assistant National Secretary Michael Kaine said Coles had stretched its transport supply chain to breaking point by ruthlessly exploiting its market power and putting profits before safety.
“Truck driving is Australia’s deadliest profession, with drivers 15 times more likely to die at work than other workers.
“By constantly demanding transport contractors to cut costs, Coles places pressure on drivers to drive faster, for longer, with over-loaded vehicles.
“This supply chain bullying not only puts the lives of truck drivers at risk, it puts every road user at risk as well.”
Senior Coles managers have previously confirmed that Coles has policy of driving down transport costs by around 5 per cent a year. Coles’ General Manager of Transport and Logistics told the Road Remuneration Tribunal in August 2013 that he “wouldn’t have a job” if he didn’t meet KPIs around reducing transport costs.
Mr Kaine said a Safe Work Australia report in 2015 found that 31 per cent of employers in the trucking industry say their workers ignore safety rules to get the job done.
“Furthermore, 10 per cent of employers in the industry accept dangerous behaviour in the workplace, and 20 per cent of employers break safety rules to meet deadlines.
“It is clear there is a systemic problem with cutting corners around safety in trucking – and this is a direct result of the pressure placed on the industry by big customers like Coles.
“It’s time for Coles to start taking some responsibility for its corporate behaviour, and to start paying safe rates to truck drivers carrying Coles goods.”