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  VANGUARD  
 
Transport workers occupy intersection, demand safe rates from Aldi
 
 

Nick G.

Traffic was stopped in the heart of Adelaide on Tuesday as Transport Workers Union took to the streets to demand safe rates from German supermarket giant Aldi.

Around 100 Union members and supporters sat down and occupied the street that runs through Tarndanyangga  (formerly Victoria Square) for around 20 minutes.  They were joined by ACTU President Sally McManus.

It is the latest in a series of actions to force Aldi to address safety concerns.  Similar ralies were held in other major cities.

Not only are truck drivers pushed to work long hours to meet Aldi’s unrealistic deadlines, Aldi has also used legal action to stop drivers from speaking out on safety.

“At the heart of this problem is Aldi’s low cost contracts that mean corners are being cut with safety. Aldi is refusing to accept this and is trying to shut down the truth,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.

The number of people killed in truck crashes has escalated since the Federal Government shut down an independent road safety watchdog scrutinising road transport operators.

Safe Work Australia data for 2017 showed almost 40% of all workplace deaths involved a transport worker.

Unlike deaths in construction, another unsafe industry, road transport deaths commonly include death and injury to the general public.

A Macquarie University study in February showed that:

• One in 10 truck drivers work over 80 hours per week.
• One in six owner drivers say drivers can’t refuse an unsafe load
• 42% of owner drivers said the reason drivers do not report safety breaches was because of a fear of losing their jobs

A Safe Work Australia report in July 2015 showed:

• 31% of transport employers say workers ignore safety rules to get the job done
• 20% of transport employers accept dangerous behaviour, compared to less than 2% in other industries.
• 20% of transport industry employers break safety rules to meet deadlines – this compares with just 6% of employers in other industries.

In a separate action the following day, the TWU organised its members to hold a protest at Adelaide Airport calling on airports, airlines and Governments to address poor working conditions that are forcing staff to sleep at the airports. called for an end to low pay, forced part time jobs, casual work and split shifts. They warned these working conditions are risking safety and security because of high turnover rates and chronic fatigue.

Forcing the big corporations such as retailers, banks, oil companies and ports to adopt safety measures relating to rates and schedules helps all Australians.

Deadlines must not become lines of dead just to satisfy profit margins.