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Truckers’ strike tests Woolworths’ supply chain in Sydney

Amazon is at the forefront of technological change, using online scheduling to outsource blocks of deliveries to contractors, who do not have the same pay and conditions as employees.

Mr Kaine said companies such as Toll should not try to compete with Amazon on cost but instead lobby the federal government for change. He claimed Toll had pursued the right to contract out between 40 and 50 per cent of its work in each state, which would “devastate” job security.

Idled Toll trailers at the company’s Eastern Creek depot.

Idled Toll trailers at the company’s Eastern Creek depot.Credit:Nick Moir

But Alan Beacham, the president of Toll’s global express division, said any suggestion the company was trying to outsource more work was a “blatant lie”.

“Toll employees have the best pay, conditions and job security in the entire industry, and Toll has not sought to change any of those conditions and protections,” he said in a statement.

An Amazon spokeswoman said its drivers were paid according to NSW and Victorian rules for owner-drivers and cited statistics suggesting they enjoyed the flexibility of working around other jobs or family commitments.

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Because of its size, Toll is used by many of Australia’s largest retailers, including Woolworths, Coles, Bunnings and 7-Eleven.

Woolworths is more exposed than some as Toll does the bulk of the supermarket giant’s deliveries to stores in Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast and Blue Mountains, and North Queensland. Outside those regions, it will not be affected.

“Toll has assured us it has solid contingency plans in place to continue servicing our stores across Greater Sydney throughout the 24-hour strike,” a Woolworths spokesman said. “Our teams will do the very best they can to navigate the challenges … and minimise the disruption to our customers from this industrial action.”

Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott said on Friday morning the strike had yet to affect stock levels at its businesses, which include Bunnings, Officeworks and Kmart.

“Obviously, it’s a broader concern going forward for the market, but as relates to our businesses, we’re not seeing any major issues at this stage,” he told reporters.

Coles declined to comment and a 7-Eleven spokesman said it did not expect any impact from the strike because fuel sales had been reduced by lockdowns.

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