February 23, 2023


Waste company Cleanaway has announced a $49 million half-year profit after tax during a period of protected industrial action in multiple states over attacks on pay and conditions that would send workers significantly backwards.

The TWU has called on the company to abandon its ideological warfare against its workforce and negotiate constructively with worker representatives.

Attacks on workers have included attempts to scrap or reduce overtime and penalty rates, extend a standard day from 8-hours to 12-hours, and increase rosters to a 7-day period.

Workers have been left little choice but to take protected industrial action across the country, with more strikes planned in Queensland in coming weeks.

Cleanaway’s report also points to higher costs associated with a greater use of overtime and sub-contractors as a result of worker shortages. These shortages have been felt most significantly in the City of Sydney, where understaffing by as much as 40% has caused months of waste chaos for residents. Workers in City of Sydney are paid $4 less than other Cleanaway workers in Greater Sydney.

Last week, the TWU had to go to the Fair Work Commission to bring Cleanaway back to the table after the company walked away from negotiations in City of Sydney where four rounds of 24-hour protected industrial action had taken place.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said councils have a responsibility to ensure workers performing essential duties for the community are treated fairly.

“Cleanaway’s vicious attacks on workers’ pay and conditions are at odds with the strong financial performance of the company, which was built on the efforts of the workforce.

“Up and down the country we have seen Cleanaway workers pushed to the brink, forced to take protected industrial action just to keep hold of what they currently have. With the current cost-of-living crisis and chronic worker shortages putting pressure on their pocket and on their safety, we should be seeing fair improvements to working conditions not attacks to existing ones.

“Cleanaway needs to clean up its act, but councils have a responsibility here too. When work is outsourced to a company with a reputation for treating workers poorly, it’s up to the council to ensure workers are paid fairly and able to serve the community safely,” he said.

Notes on Cleanaway’s conduct

  • Last year, the Supreme Court found Cleanaway guilty on two counts of failing to comply with its health and safety duty over a fatal truck crash which killed two people, on the basis it had failed to adequately train and supervise the driver, who was also badly injured in the crash and had already been cleared of charges.
  • The TWU has also filed a dispute in the Federal Court over Cleanaway breaching its obligations to provide information to workers and the Fair Work Commission for a protected action ballot, which delayed workers’ accessing their rights for at least one month.
  • Last year the TWU also successfully fought for the reinstatement of a delegate and elected worker bargaining representative who was unfairly sacked by the company.

Media contact: Pippa Hatton 0418 982 257


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