Coles has announced it will contract work to Toll, which will make road travel safer, said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
The Coles announcement will see the retailer moving significant parts of its retail work to Toll in Queensland and Victoria. A final decision will be made regarding retail work in South Australia. Toll has made commitments to hire drivers already carrying out this work for other companies, once skills and standards tests are met.
“What we need is a focus on the entire transport supply chain. This is why we want to see major companies taking the move Coles has done in choosing transport operators with the best practices, excellent safety standards and fair working conditions for their transport needs. This will ensure quality jobs in transport and safer roads,” said Mr Kaine.
In May Coles signed an agreement with the TWU to make its transport supply chains safer and to ensure safety and fairness in its on-demand economy work.
Trucking is Australia’s deadliest industry with a recent Monash University study highlighting the health and safety hazards for truck drivers. The study states truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than any other profession, Mr Kaine said.
A report by the National Transport Commission said practices by the retail industry affecting road transport “can play a direct and significant role in causing hazardous practices”. It adds: “There is solid survey evidence linking payment levels and systems to crashes, speeding, driving while fatigued, and drug use”.
The TWU has also signed a charter with Woolworths that allows for supply chain auditing and plans to improve safety.
“Aldi continues to refuse to acknowledge its role in making our roads safer and has launched a federal court case to stop truck drivers and the TWU from protesting and speaking out about rates and safety in its supply chain,” Mr Kaine said. “Hearings in the case are set for April.”