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ALDI TWU clashes over Scotts Logistics liquidation


More than 1,500 people have lost their jobs and there are warnings of a worsening “supply chain crisis” after a refrigerated logistics operator collapsed.

A war of words has broken out after Scotts Refrigerated Logistics went into liquidation and receivers were unable to find a buyer for the large company.

The Transport Workers Union has sued ALDI over the supermarket giant’s part in the demise of Scotts RL by “taking advantage of operators’ razor-thin margins”.

“There will be 1,500 families devastated today as workers see the direct impact of wealthy companies like ALDI squeezing the life out of transportation contracts,” said TWU Secretary of State Michael Kaine.

“Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics is a key victim of an industry-wide crisis that is pushing operators and drivers to the brink, which will have a huge impact on our vital food supply chains.”

ALDI strongly rebuked the TWU’s statements, saying it “had hoped the challenges Scott’s faced could have been overcome”.

“Statements made by the TWU regarding our results of operations and our supplier relationships are flatly untrue, unfounded and harmful,” ALDI Australia said through a spokesperson.

“We refute this comment from the TWU in its entirety.”

The supermarket says it comprised just three percent of Scott’s sales.

Bankruptcy Trustees KordaMentha had said earlier this week that they expected a “strong interest in this company and its assets given its importance in Australia’s cold chain supply system”.

However, no buyer has yet appeared on the board.

Supermarkets are scrambling to minimize the impact on their supply chains, with concerns that the closure could affect what’s in their fridges and freezers.

Coles have said they are “working hard to minimize disruption to customers and our growers”.

“Our focus remains on the continued availability of refrigerated products in stores and online for customers,” said a spokesperson.

“We are rapidly transitioning to our other transportation partners and are closely monitoring deliveries in our supply chain.”

Woolworths said it was working with affected suppliers to “maintain continued product to our distribution centers”.

According to the TWU, nearly 200 transport companies went bankrupt in the 2021-2022 financial year.

“Scott’s is not the first transportation company to be pushed out of business by profit-hungry customers at the top of supply chains, and it won’t be the last unless we implement reforms to ensure those customers are accountable for fair, safe and sustainable transport contracts,” said Kaine.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.