The Transport Workers’ Union has written to every Eurobodalla Shire Councillor, as well as the local state and federal MPs, calling on the Council to refuse any bid that doesn’t guarantee the jobs and conditions of all existing workers.
The Council recently put its waste collection contract out for open tender, with potential operators given until 6 October to make a bid for the contract.
Workers in the Shire are currently employed by Suez on above-award wages and conditions, but due to the Council’s refusal to include industrial protections as a condition in the tender they now face the prospect of being reduced to award-level conditions or potentially losing their jobs altogether.
Eurobodalla Shire Council’s disgraceful tender process stands in stark contrast to the tender undertaken by neighbouring Shoalhaven Council in 2019, which explicitly required the successful bidder to guarantee the jobs and conditions of existing workers.
TWU South Coast and Southern Sub-Branch Secretary Rob Pirc said waste workers in the Eurobodalla Shire are outraged by this attack on their jobs and conditions after they have gone above and beyond to serve the local community, particularly during the bushfires.
“Through bushfires, floods and lockdowns waste workers have been there to perform an essential service, and now the Council wants to thank them by refusing to guarantee their jobs and conditions” Mr Pirc said.
“By not including protections for jobs and conditions in the tender, Council are encouraging a race-to-the-bottom caused by other operators undercutting the existing workforce to gain an advantage, which only results in a poorer quality service for residents.”
“The Council were the first ones to thank their waste workers after the bushfires – well now it’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is. If they truly value their workers, they will refuse any tender bid that doesn’t guarantee their jobs and conditions.”
Suez driver Jack Loo said he and his fellow drivers deserve better from the Council.
“When we had the bushfires, we went well beyond normal to serve the community, but now in our time of need the Council is turning their back on us.”
“We’ve served the community every day through the good times and hard times, all we’re asking is for a bit of loyalty.”
The waste collection contract in Eurobodalla Shire is currently operated by Suez Recycling & Recovery, which employs dozens of workers in the region.