A vigil by the Transport Workers’ Union outside the Coles/Wesfarmers AGM in Perth alleged that, in a quest to maximise profit, Coles contributed to lethal supply chain practices.
Speaking outside the AGM on 20 November, TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon urged Coles, “to take responsibility for safety throughout its supply chain. No one deserves to lose everything, especially their life, just to put goods on supermarket shelves”.
Mr Sheldon said, “Coles is a company driven by an insatiable hunger to maximise profit, regardless of the cost to suppliers, small business and families”.
“Families lose their livelihoods because of Coles’ squeeze on local industries like milk and bread. When Coles’ squeeze happens in transport, it comes at a lethal cost; 330 lives lost in truck crashes on Australian roads every year.
“Numerous reports, including from the National Transport Commission, have made the link between economic pressure from major transport clients like Coles and incentives for truck drivers to engage in unsafe practices,” said Mr Sheldon.
Mr Sheldon told reporters, “Coles can lead the way in making sure that that pressure on truck drivers is taken off the entire community”.
Coles has previously said it takes driver safety seriously, and has signed up to a supply chain code of conduct that sets out minimum safety standards.