30 November 2020

Garbos close to pay deal, Friday strike "unlikely but possible"

| Dominic Giannini
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Suez garbage truck drivers are close to reaching a pay agreement with the company, their union said. Photo: TWU NSW.

Garbage truck drivers in the ACT are “fairly close” to signing a new deal with collection company Suez after six months of negotiations and three strikes, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) said today.

ACT TWU secretary Klaus Pinkas said he was hopeful that the protracted ordeal would be over soon and that while industrial action on Friday (4 December) was unlikely, it remained a possibility.

Drivers last week rejected an 8.3 per cent pay rise over three years, a revised offer up from 8 per cent, but the union continues to push for 12 per cent over three years.

It was the sixth offer the garbage collection company presented to its drivers.

Industrial action planned for last Friday (27 November) was postponed. Previous strikes impacted more than 40 suburbs across Canberra.

READ MORE Garbage truck drivers reject all three Suez pay offers

When questioned whether the ACT Government would step in, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he would leave the parties to follow the formal processes outlined under federal industrial relations (IR) law.

“There is a process underway there and it is a matter for the employer and the employee representatives,” he said.

“We have a federal industrial relations system and a commission that arbitrates. I am not an IR commissioner and I am not a bargaining agent so no, we will not be intervening.

“The contractor does not get paid if they do not collect the garbage, the workers do not get paid if they do not go to work.”

Suez declined to comment for this story.

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