May 16, 2024


The Transport Workers Union of NSW (TWU) is warning the public will be worse off as the NSW Coalition seeks to undermine the condition of the state’s waste workers by allowing Councils back into a race to the bottom around tendering industry contracts.

The Liberals and Nations will try to pass a disallowance motion to remove hard fought worker protections under waste industry tendering amendments.

This would result in local councils putting waste collection services out to tender without protecting workers’ wages and conditions, as per-previous regulations. This could lead to waste workers being forced to reapply for their jobs, working under inferior conditions and potentially dismantling union agreements.

The TWU lobbied for significant amendments to tender regulations to safeguard waste workers’ rights. These include provisions ensuring job continuity for existing employees, maintenance of current wage rates and conditions, recognition of accrued entitlements, and commitments to annual wage increases.

TWU NSW/QLD State Secretary Richard Olsen said the Coalition’s efforts were disgraceful and not only jeopardises sanitation standards the public relies on but also undermines the well-being and stability of the workers who keep our communities clean and safe.

“This is an outrageous attempt to strip workers of their wages and conditions in order to put them into the pockets of councils and private waste operators. This proves whose side the NSW Coalition is really on.”

“The fact is these regulations do what they are meant to – protect the job security, wages and conditions of workers when waste work goes out to tender. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Ian Hankinson, who has worked as a waste worker for more than 35 years on the Central Coast, said he had lived through four contract changes.

“These were very stressful times for us as workers because our wages, jobs, and conditions were not protected.”

“In 2017 our wages were cut by $4.50 per hour. We left work on the last day of January and came back to work on February 1st, same job, same yard, different company – $4.50 per hour less in our pay packets”

“It’s a tender based on our livelihood, as the only real way to win contracts is to cut our wages. This is a race to the bottom.”


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