TWU ACCUSES ALDI OF COVER-UP ON SAFETY BREACHES

Nov 16, 2017

TWU MEDIA RELEASE, 16 November 2017

The Transport Workers’ Union has criticised Aldi for covering up safety risks in its supply chain by claiming it has conducted an internal survey of drivers which found no problems. The Union is calling on Aldi to meet to discuss introducing whistleblower protections and enforceable rights. Drivers need to be able to come forward and reveal safety risks without fearing of harassment or sacking.

“It comes as no surprise that Aldi is claiming it has conducted an internal survey that found nothing wrong in its supply chain. We have evidence of drivers bullied into taking safety risks and who have been ridiculed and harassed when they raise concerns. It is clear there is no appropriate Aldi mechanism for drivers to flag problems without repercussions,” TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said.

The TWU also takes issue with Aldi’s assertions that it had written to its “supplier base” to remind them of its “expectation and policies in relation to safety”.

“Aldi needs to address this simple premise: its low cost contracts do not allow its goods to be delivered safely. No amount of ‘reminding’ operators about safety will change that. We know too many transport operators working with Aldi do not maintain their vehicles, do not train their drivers properly and do not pay their drivers fairly. We demand to know what Aldi is doing to address this gaping problem in its supply chain,” Sheldon added.

The main issues regarding Aldi’s supply chain include:

 

Aldi drivers

Aldi drivers have given the TWU statements on major breaches of fatigue rules and harassment of drivers when they continue to raise the issue.

The TWU has information about drivers forced to drive longer hours than fatigue rules allow because of delays with loading and trucks not ready to take out. When they told managers about this they were told: “Maybe you need to go faster” and “everyone else is doing it, you are the only one with a problem” and “it’s your job to manage your fatigue”

One driver recounted being delayed one evening very late but was forced to start an early schedule the following day. He’d had just five hours between the two shifts and three hours sleep. He was harassed at work for raising concerns and ridiculed by one manager about being fatigued.

Drivers have also spoken about lack of safety at work such as fire exits blocked, electricity wires exposed and even a lack of toilet facilities.

 

Contractors

Aldi uses contractors in its supply chain whose practices pose serious safety risks. Aldi’s low cost contracts put financial pressure on these operators to cut safety corners.

For example, the TWU has identified:

  • inexperienced trainers training new drivers at one SA transport operator
  • below-Award flat rates with no super at a Queensland operator
  • vehicles not being maintained properly at a Queensland operator
  • driver security and safety issues at night at a Victoria operator.

© 2016 Transport Workers' Union of Australia.
Authorised by Tony Sheldon, TWU National Secretary, 388-390 Sussex St, Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia.