TWU members, employed by Suez Recycling and Recovery Pty Ltd to service the ACT residential waste collections contract, have been negotiating with Suez for 6 months and, to date, the TWU have not been able to reach an agreement.
Suez in the ACT are a subsidiary of the French based multinational corporation Suez Environment.
TWU members who live and work in their local communities have been extremely patient and are disappointed at the company’s actions at the negotiation table. They now feel that the only option left to them by Suez is to take protected industrial action.
Suez is using the impact of Covid-19 as an excuse to hold back negotiations. The income that Suez receives from the ACT Ratepayers has not been impacted by Covid or any other external factors. Suez have recently announced an increase in the dividend it will pay to the company’s French shareholders.
Klaus Pinkas, the TWU ACT Secretary said, “This is not some local struggling business. It is a huge multinational doing very well out of their contract with the ACT. The TWU claim will still see a profit flow through to France but will also see a part of that profit returned to the local ACT Community through the Canberra Garbos.”
“Garbos across the ACT have reported that the vast amount of feedback from local residents has been supportive. Drivers who work for Suez, picking up the bins in the ACT, are locals too. They work where they live,” Mr Pinkas said.
Members are aware of the impact on their community and have not taken the decision to stop work lightly. Canberra’s Garbos will ensure that, in the long run, all the ACT community’s bins are picked up.
In response to claims that Garbos are being greedy, the TWU believe that it is a good idea that critical workers are well paid for the job they do. It is generally acknowledged that low wage growth is a problem in both the National and ACT economies. TWU members are trying do something about this seeking some of the profit Suez makes from the ACT ratepayers be returned to the ACT community through the hands of the workers.
Details of the Claim:
The original claim was for a 3.4% pay increase for a one year Agreement. Members were prepared to wait and see what the world looked like post pandemic (hopefully).
Suez insisted on a three and a half year Agreement which would go to the end of the contract. As a consequence the TWU claim, which was initially amended to include many long term issues that needed fixing, was whittled down to three things.
1. The restoration of a paid rest break after two hours of overtime
2. The more efficient handling of HR matters.
3. A wage increase of 12% over three and a half years, (4 percent each year).
Colin Henderson, TWU Communications, 0405 625 208