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Discounts at a price? Dispatches claims Aldi is too good to be true

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A recent investigation by reporters working for the Channel Four show Dispatches showed a vision of Aldi that included heavily out of date goods and miserable employees.

The programme saw two reporters going undercover as Aldi shop assistants at two of Aldi’s stores. One reporter claimed that on 12 of the 20 days he worked there he found squashed, damaged or mouldy goods on sale, including frozen bacon three months out of date.

It was further claimed that a survey by the shop workers’ union Usdaw saw half of the participants claiming Aldi’s pallet loading times were unachievable, forcing staff to regularly work unpaid overtime.

“Usdaw is the trade union for Aldi workers and we know that staff have significant grievances which are largely left unresolved, leading to low morale and a high turnover of personnel,” said Usdaw Deputy General Secretary Paddy Lillis.

In response to the programme, an Aldi spokesperson told Talking Retail that in the “most recent independently conducted employee survey, over 80% of our employees rated Aldi as a great place to work.

“There is a clear process available for unions if they believe they have the support to obtain recognition. We have not received an application for Usdaw or any other trade union for recognition.”

However, according to Lillis: “Usdaw has approached the company on a number of occasions seeking talks about issues raised by our members and to explore how we can work together to improve the business. Unfortunately they have resisted our approaches and, after our first campaign day this year, they instructed store managers to remove Usdaw recruiters from stores to prevent them talking to shop floor staff.”

Other episodes of Dispatches have focused on topics such as Benefits and how to stop yourself receiving nuisance calls. It is described on 4OD as “Channel 4’s award-winning investigative current affairs programme.”

Still, Aldi said that the programme was “based upon selective information” and that “Usdaw’s survey was limited to a very small number of staff, and cannot accurately represent the views of 28,000 employees.

“Our customers shop with Aldi because we offer them the best products at the best prices. We are proud to have been named Which? Best Supermarket for a record fourth time.”

Published on Wednesday 11 November by Philip Gallagher

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