17 November 2020

Third week of garbage strikes start today

| Dominic Giannini
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A garbage truck driver strike will impact bin collections between Tuesday (17 November) and Friday (20 November) inclusive. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Garbage truck drivers will begin their third strike in as many weeks today (16 November), affecting bin collections until Friday.

This week, parts of Belconnen, Gungahlin and the Inner North will miss their regular collections while other suburbs will have their waste collected a few days later.

ACT rubbish collection contractor Suez has again expressed disappointment at the industrial action.

Suez and the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) are set to continue negotiations on Wednesday.

READ ALSO Garbage lines extend for kilometres as drivers strike again

The union is pushing for a 4 per cent yearly increase in drivers’ wages which are currently just over $37 an hour. Suez has proposed a wage increase of 2 per cent in 2021, 3 per cent in 2022 and 3 per cent in 2023.

“The company believes this offer is reasonable and fair given the current economic circumstances in Australia, reflected in Canberra’s CPI figures that show a rise of just 1 per cent in the 12 months to September,” the company said in a statement.

“All divisions across Suez have taken action to adjust to the vastly altered economic landscape in which we are all living in order to ensure the longer-term economic sustainability of our business. These steps include no CPI salary increase for salaried employees in 2020 and alternative working arrangements, including a reduction in hours for many employees.

“Our senior leadership team took a 25 per cent pay reduction for three months at the height of the pandemic.”

The company says the wage increase drivers are seeking is at odds with Reserve Bank forecasted wage growth.

“The bank believes it will take until at least the end of 2022 for wage growth to reach 1.75 per cent,” it said.

In a statement to Region Media this morning, TWU ACT Secretary Klaus Pinkas said “it is a fundamental belief of TWU members that it is a good thing that critical service workers be well paid”.

The union also countered the accusation that its pay claim was too high given the current economic circumstances.

“Low wage growth in the Australian economy is an acknowledged problem,” Mr Pinkas said, “but when people claim quite rightly for higher wages, they are shouted down erroneously as ‘greedy bastards’ – usually by the corporations.”

The union noted that the income Suez receives from the “extremely profitable ACT residential waste collection contract is unaffected by the pandemic or any other outside factors”.

If you have a Tuesday waste and/or recycling collection

  • Parts of Tuggeranong and Woden, which usually have a Tuesday collection, will have their bins collected two days later than usual on Thursday, 19 November. Residents are advised to leave their bin/s on the kerb for collection. Waste and/or recycling will be collected according to the current week’s collection calendar.

If you have a Wednesday or Thursday waste and/or recycling collection

  • Parts of Belconnen and Gungahlin that have a Wednesday collection are advised that their bins will not be collected on Wednesday, 18 November and missed collections will not be caught up. You can take your waste to the temporary drop-off sites and your recycling to a Recycling Drop Off Centre.
  • Parts of Belconnen and the Inner North that have a Thursday collection are advised that their bins will not be collected on Thursday, 19 November and missed collections will not be caught up. You can take your waste to the temporary drop-off sites and your recycling to a Recycling Drop Off Centre.

If you have a Friday waste and/or recycling collection

  • Parts of the Inner North and Inner South which usually have a Friday collection may experience some missed collections on Friday, 20 November. Please put your bin/s on the kerb for collection. A temporary drop-off site will be available in the area for those that experience a missed collection.

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I would say the best place to drop off your rubbish is at the front door of the TWU office in Fyshwick.

Capital Retro10:30 am 17 Nov 20

Here we have the TWU trying to kick-start inflation after the RBA has tried and failed for the past 10 years. Good luck with that!

It’s good you have Suez point of view. Did you also speak to the union?

I’d suggest the union point of view is pretty is easily inferred. They feel the drivers are worth more than 8% over 3 years. Pretty obvious if you ask me.

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