Rubbish piles up as garbo strikes spread across country

Bins will again be left uncollected as Cleanaway garbage workers take further strike action.

Bins will again be left uncollected as Cleanaway garbage workers take further strike action. Photo: AAP

The stench of uncollected rubbish bins has returned to Sydney and spread to Victoria as garbos demand state government intervention in their industrial dispute.

About 150 garbage collectors walked off the job on Wednesday demanding that ASX-listed waste contractor Cleanaway raise pay and leave work conditions alone.

It’s the sixth time in five months that bin collection in the City of Sydney has been affected by strikes and follows recent action in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT.

“Cleanaway is attempting to cut the life out of these essential waste industry workers,” Transport Workers Union National Assistant Secretary Nick McIntosh said on Wednesday.

The one-day action also affects residential services in Victoria’s Greater Geelong, Surf Coast and Golden Plains council areas and commercial services in Wollongong and Geelong.

The union said councils needed to turn the screws on their contracted waste collectors and if they don’t, Labor state governments should intervene.

“Tell these councils what they should be doing,” Mr McIntosh said.

“Stop the attack on safety, job security, wages and conditions and set the standard to make sure these essential waste industry workers are protected.”

In Sydney, garbos want at least another five per cent per annum, saying workers are already $4 to $6 per hour behind other Cleanaway workers.

NSW secretary Richard Olsen says the current offer is unacceptable to workers as it adjusts hours of work and other conditions that would send workers backwards.

The City of Sydney said it was not involved in the negotiations and hoped the matter would be resolved swiftly “with an outcome that works for all parties”.

Bin collections could be delayed by up to 48 hours this week, it said.

Cleanaway has been contacted for comment.

During previous actions, it backed the rights of its employees to undertake protected industrial action as part of the enterprise bargaining process.

The company wanted the best possible agreement that recognised the important essential services workers provided.

“There are different agreements across multiple sites. The agreements are tailored to the operational needs, and the needs of our employees at each site,” a spokesman said in April.


Topics: waste
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