October 16 2019
Shocking photos and video showing major safety problems at Aldi have emerged as truck drivers held protests around the country over the wealthy retailer’s to discuss safety.
The photos and video show safety doors blocked, fire equipment hemmed in, chaotic food storage, filthy floors, faulty electrics, poor lighting for truck drivers delivering goods and a flooded yard outside a loading dock.
Aldi refuses to acknowledge the safety problems in its supply chain and instead is suing the TWU in a Federal Court case to silence the union and truck drivers from protesting and speaking out.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine has called on Aldi enter discussions about fixing systemic issues in supply chain. “Shoppers will see these photos and videos and will be very concerned about what is going on at this wealthy retailer. We have truck drivers at Aldi contacting us with evidence of how safety is being put at risk; how they are pushed to drive fatigued; how loading docks are unsafe with broken and faulty equipment; how access to toilets, fire equipment and emergency exits are blocked. But they have also told us how when they try to raise these safety concerns they are ignored and even ridiculed. We are protesting today because we want an end to this disregard for safety. We want Aldi to come to the table and discuss with how their supply chain can be made safer,” he said.
“Despite Aldi’s refusal to acknowledge their problems with safety, despite their attempts to silence us through an expensive court case, this issue is just too important for us to stop speaking out about it. People are dying in truck crashes every week and in many cases these crashes can be linked back to poor systems along the supply chains of wealthy retailers and manufacturers. These companies at the top are putting financial pressure on transport operators and truck drivers through their low-cost contracts which is causing trucks to not be maintained and drivers pushed to speed, drive long hours and skip hours. This problem is killing people, destroying communities and devastating families,” Kaine added.
The Federal Government tore down a road safety watchdog in 2016 which was holding major retailers and manufacturers to account over safety in their supply chains, despite the Government’s own report saying it was reducing truck crashes by 28%. Since the watchdog was abolished, 640 people have been killed in truck crashes, including 142 truck drivers.
Aldi’s Federal Court case against the TWU resumes on 22nd October.
A major agreement between the TWU and Coles has been signed which involves statements of principles to ensure safe and fair conditions for workers in the Coles supply chain and the on-demand economy. A separate charter has been signed previously with Woolworths.
The TWU has announced widespread industrial action in transport next year as 200 enterprise agreements covering 38,000 transport workers expire. The union is pushing to ensure accountability among powerful, wealthy companies at the top of the transport supply chain, like Aldi.