TWU PROTEST: Pressure on drivers 'worse, not better'
UPDATE: WHILE protesting out the front of Aldi Cooparoo today, Transport Workers Union Queensland branch's Peter Biagini declared the union wanted "to hold Aldi accountable" and for the Australian supermarket giant to "sit down with us like others have and try and make our roads safer".
Mr Biagini's demands in Brisbane came as members of the union protested all around the country today, levelling allegations at Aldi about safety in it's supply chain, while also protesting about the two year anniversary of the abolishing of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.
The TWU said the safety watchdog was investigating safety in trucking and holding major companies to account for low cost contracts, which meant their goods could not be delivered safely.
In response to a police blitz in New South Wales this year, Mr Biagini said the TWU surveyed 1000 truck drivers who said the pressure on them was "worse, not better".
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Results of that survey show almost 93 percent of drivers say pressure was continuing or increasing. They listed the financial squeeze from major supermarkets and manufacturers, bad roads, unsafe truck stops and unrealistic deadlines major sources of pressure.
"There has been 360 deaths since the RSRT shut down and that is unacceptable," Mr Biagini said.
"In the last 10 years two-and-a-half thousand people have died on the roads in truck related accidents."
An Aldi Australia spokesperson said Aldi "refutes all allegations made by the TWU that our workplace practices are unsafe and are placing truck drivers at risk".
"The notion that we would put our employees, contractors and the general public in harm's way is a disgraceful accusation and is wholly untrue," the statement read. "
"We have always looked after our employees and suppliers and have never pressured anyone in the supply chain to operate unsafely or in breach of the law."
The spokesperson said while the TWU had failed to provide Aldi with evidence to support its ongoing campaigns, they had taken proactive measures to ensure their commitment to driver safety had not been compromised.
"We have thoroughly reviewed our work practices and audited our records to look for any violations of our strict safety measures. We have also conducted anonymous surveys of our supply chain drivers to help uncover any potential concerns. No information received to date validates any of the claims made by the TWU."
EARLIER: TRUCK drivers will protest in all major capital cities today as a new survey shows 93 percent of drivers want to see changes to make transport safer and less pressured.
The survey, carried out by the TWU, shows a whopping 93 percent of drivers also say pressure on them is continuing or increasing, with drivers listing the financial squeeze from major supermarkets and manufacturers, bad roads, unsafe truck stops and unrealistic deadlines as major sources of pressure.
More than 1000 drivers responded to the survey, which was conducted following police blitzes on trucks after a spate of crashes.
The survey comes two years after the Federal Government shut down a road safety watchdog which was investigating safety in trucking and holding major companies to account for low cost contracts which meant goods could not be delivered safely.
Hundreds of drivers have held several protests at Aldi's over alleged safety problems during the past year.
In a statement from Aldi, a spokeperson said the supermarket giant "utterly refutes all allegations made by the TWU that our workplace practices are undafe and are placing truck drivers at risk".
"The lives of all Australian road users matter and Aldi fully supports the goal of providing safe working terms and conditions for all transport drivers," the statement read.
The times and locations for today's protests are:
- SYDNEY: Aldi Darlinghurst, corner Oxford St & Pelican St, 10.30am
- MELBOURNE: Aldi CBD, Franklin Street, 11am
- ADELAIDE: Aldi West Lakes, 44 Frederick Road, West Lakes, 11am
- BRISBANE: Aldi Cooparoo, 296 Old Cleveland Rd, 11.45am
- PERTH: Aldi Dog Swamp Shopping Centre, 6 Wanneroo Road, 9am