Aldi and Lidl have denied forcing lorry drivers to carry out the work of warehouse staff to cut prices.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, lorry driver David Janczak-Hogarth claimed the discount supermarkets were letting “any Tom, Dick or Harry in the warehouse to unload their vehicle” in order to maintain low prices, which he argued was a threat to quality control.
“It was obvious to me the only reason you were doing it was for the benefit of whichever discount supermarket it was that you were visiting,” he said.
But Aldi stressed this was not a new cost-cutting strategy and said it had always used drivers to tip loads ever since it first came to the UK in 1990.
“We operate an efficient business model and pass on savings to customers who benefit from the lowest grocery prices in the UK,” an Aldi spokesman said.
“The majority of haulers support this process as it saves them time and money. In particular, it reduces the time drivers spend queueing at our distribution centres and means they can quickly get back on the road after unloading.”
Both discounters said drivers are given protective clothing, training, and are insured to carry out the work.
Lidl said the policy of drivers unloading their vehicles had been a standard practice for the last 23 years.
“As a retailer, we are not unique in this approach, which has also been verified by visiting regulators,” a Lidl spokesman said.
“We can confirm that all lorry drivers are checked against our verification databases on arrival to ensure they have received full, comprehensive training. In addition to training, they are required to wear protective footwear and hi-visibility clothing, which is a requirement throughout the industry. If a driver does not have protective clothing, it will be loaned to them on arrival. All drivers are monitored whilst on our premises to ensure their safety and every individual is fully covered by our insurance policy whilst on our premises.”