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ALDI News|18 Apr 2019

ALDI stores wrongly targeted by the TWU

ALDI Australia
By ALDI Australia

ALDI utterly refutes all allegations made by the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

ALDI utterly refutes all allegations made by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) that our workplace practices are unsafe 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.  We take our commitment to safety seriously and this includes all practices relating to our employees, our customers and suppliers.

ALDI proudly pays all its drivers above award rates and vehicle maintenance is strictly adhered to.

ALDI is accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme and works closely with independent auditors to ensure that maintenance schedules are completed and subsequently audited by independent parties that are approved by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

The TWU continues to make unsubstantiated and wildly inaccurate claims about the driving conditions and practices of our team, and of our suppliers’ drivers.  Given the seriousness of these claims, we have repeatedly sought details from the TWU so a thorough investigation can be conducted.  To date, no details have been provided.

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. 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.

Although the TWU has failed to provide ALDI with any evidence to support its ongoing campaigns we have taken proactive measures to ensure that our commitment to driver safety has 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.

ALDI has a Safety and Corporate Responsibility Charter in place to build responsible and strong compliance practices by our employees, suppliers and contractors. It outlines our expectations to comply with all applicable transport laws, and our high safety and labour standards.

The common and consistent claims made by the TWU to media in the last 12 months include the following accusations:

  1. ALDI does not adequately remunerate its drivers
  2. ALDI does not maintain its vehicles
  3. ALDI does not provide drivers with proper rest breaks
  4. ALDI operates long shifts and imposes unrealistic  deadlines, forcing drivers to speed
  5. One in ten ALDI Drivers are working over 80 hours a week
  6. ALDI requires a whistleblower policy to allow drivers to comfortably voice issues
  7. ALDI refuses to engage with the TWU
  8. ALDI squeezes suppliers leaving them with little choice but to cut corners

In response to the above allegations:

  1. ALDI pays its drivers above award rate: ALDI proudly pays all its drivers above award rates.  These rates are reviewed annually taking into account market conditions and business performance to ensure that superior rates of pay are maintained.
  2. ALDI strictly adheres to vehicles maintenance: ALDI Stores is accredited under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme and works closely with independent auditors to ensure that maintenance schedules are strictly adhered to and audited by independent parties that are approved by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
  3. ALDI provide drivers with proper rest breaks: LogChecker Fatigue Management System, the tool used to record work and rest breaks in the heavy vehicle industry, has stated that ALDI is performing at a rate that is 10 times better than the industry average.  Further, in our Enterprise Agreement negotiations we pushed for ALDI drivers to take even more frequent breaks than required under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme, a move that was met with resistance from the TWU.
  4. ALDI does not operates long shifts or impose unrealistic deadlines, and would never force drivers to speed: ALDI does not require any drivers to complete long shifts.  We set routes that are safe and comfortably achievable within the allocated roster.  For our suppliers, we partner to set realistic and safe delivery deadlines, and waiting times at our Distribution Centres are minimal thanks to an efficient delivery booking system.  As a precaution, we perform random checks of contractor driver work diaries to ensure all breaks are being taken in accordance with the law.
  5. No ALDI Drivers are working over 80 hours a week: No ALDI Transport Operator has worked 80 hours or more per week in the past 12 months.   On average, staff in ALDI’s national transport departments work 39.26 hours per week, and are paid a generous base hourly rate, overtime and shift loadings.
  6. ALDI actively promotes a whistleblower policy to allow drivers to comfortably voice issues: The ALDI Alertline, which has been in operation since September 2013, provides a platform for employees and external parties (contractors, suppliers and other stakeholders) to raise concerns confidentially, if they do not feel comfortable raising their concerns directly with ALDI.  The Alert line details are clearly on display for our employees and supplier drivers at all of our Distribution Centres.  Any calls to the Alertline are sent directly to a Managing Director for investigation.
  7. ALDI has actively sought information from the TWU: Despite repeated written requests from ALDI over the past 7 months for specific information about alleged issues within our supply chain, the TWU has failed to provide any evidence to support their public claims.   We remain open to dialogue with the TWU in relation to any specific issues within our supply chain.  The failure to supply such information brings into question the TWU’s motivations for attacking ALDI’s brand and suggests a broader policy agenda is being pursued, rather than actual issues with ALDI.
  8. ALDI does not squeeze suppliers or encourage them to cut corners: The ALDI business model does not involve squeezing suppliers.  Our low prices are possible thanks to our focus on efficient business process.  ALDI sets clear expectations with our suppliers to ensure there is correct payment of wages, vehicles are maintained, delivery timeframes are realistic and achievable and drivers take breaks as required by legislation.