27 November 2020

Garbage truck drivers reject all three Suez pay offers

| Dominic Giannini
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TWU drivers picketing at Suez

Suez garbage truck drivers have floated the possibility of further strikes as they continue to negotiate for a pay increase. Photo: TWU NSW.

Suez, the ACT’s garbage collection contractor, offered drivers an 8.3 per cent pay rise over three years on Monday to end the industrial action that had taken place over the last month. Their revised offer – up from 8 per cent – was turned down on Wednesday.

Suez presented three options to drivers at Monday’s meeting between the drivers union and the Fair Work Commission.

The first was a one-off gross payment of $250 for each employee covered under the current enterprise agreement (EA).

The second option was for a 0.3 per cent increase which could be added to any of the proposed yearly wage increases of 2 per cent in 2021, 3 per cent in 2022 and 3 per cent in 2023.

Alternatively, Suez proposed that the 8.3 per cent increase could be a combination of percentages added across the three years, resulting in a cumulative 8.3 per cent increase to wages over the term of the EA.

The third option was to revisit productivity-based bonuses. The current bonus would result in a $4 a day increase for workers, which amounts to a 1.34 per cent increase to the current $37.28 hourly base rate, the company said.

For a driver working five days a week, the productivity bonus could amount to as much as $1,040 over the year.

READ ALSO Garbage strikes to continue after drivers vote down pay rise

The Transport Workers Union met with drivers on Wednesday (25 November) where all three options were rejected. The union and drivers continue to push for a 4 per cent yearly increase over the next three years.

It is the sixth offer the garbage collection company has presented to its drivers. Drivers received a 3.4 per cent increase in April this year.

So far the union has held strong on its push for 4 per cent but TWU ACT branch secretary Klaus Pinkas said the union would keep negotiating with the company and all offers would be considered by its members.

A revised offer is expected from Suez in the next few days, he said.

Suez drivers in Melbourne are on a base rate of just over $30 an hour and drivers in Sydney’s Canada Bay, in the city’s inner west, are paid just over $34 an hour and are set to receive 3.5 per cent wage increases in 2021 and 2022.

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