Aldi has begun legal proceedings against the Transport Workers Union (TWU) that involve both worker safety and freedom of speech.
The federal court case is now underway. The TWU says it “could have far-reaching consequences for anyone who wants to protest against poor workplace safety, environmental or rights abuses”.
Aldi and the TWU have been clashing since 2017 over alleged safety issues in the transport supply chain. It culminated in Aldi lodging an application for an interlocutory injunction to stop the TWU from holding pickets at its premises.
The injunction also restrained the publication of various communications on the dispute. This is why the TWU suggests that freedom of speech, as well as safety, is at stake.
According to the TWU, Aldi is taking the case after the TWU protested against Aldi’s “refusal” to discuss the issue of safety in its transport supply chain.
In a press release, the TWU said: “In the past decade, almost 2,000 have died in heavy-vehicle crashes on Australian roads, while the transport industry has the highest number of workplace deaths. Truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than any profession.
“While companies such as Coles and Woolworths have recognised the danger in the industry and have signed safety charters, Aldi refuses to even discuss the issue.
“Aldi is now taking the unprecedented step of trying to sue the Union for its protest campaign.”
Aldi hits back
By way of response, according to Channel 9, Aldi said: “The TWU has made a series of allegations against Aldi. We say these allegations are false. The federal court will determine the matter following the hearing.”
The case began before Justice Flick in the Federal Court, 184 Phillip Street, Sydney, at 10.15 on Tuesday April 30, 2019.