Food supply chain Aldi Australia says accusations against it by employed truck drivers are “lies” and has quite literally made a federal case out of it, taking the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to court. What follows is a statement from Damien Scheidel, Managing Director, Corporate Logistics, Aldi Australia, according to Business Insider Australia:
“The TWU has on multiple occasions accused Aldi of deaths on roads, underpaying employees, knowingly placing employees in harm’s way, violating heavy vehicle regulations, poorly maintaining our transport fleet, ignoring responsibilities within our supply chain and silencing workers. All of these claims are lies and we will not stand accused of such actions. This is why we are in court.
“We have contacted the TWU on more than ten occasions requesting details of their claims to ensure we can investigate the alleged safety concerns immediately. Not once have these details been forthcoming. It is our view that the TWU are more interested in leveraging our good brand for their own influence and political gain than addressing transport safety issues.
“If the TWU are withholding valid safety claims regarding our operations, they should share them and we’ll investigate them immediately.”
The TWU has demonstrated in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Protesters gathered outside an Aldi store in Port Adelaide in September. The TWU has charged Aldi with forcing drivers to work through fatigue and work in unsafe conditions.
“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,” said TWU’s national secretary Michael Kaine. “But they have also told us how when they try to raise these safety concerns they are ignored and even ridiculed.”
Ultimately, Kaine said the TWU “want an end to this disregard for safety.”