Brisbane garbage collectors will go on strike next week over what they say are unfair working conditions.
The strike, organised by the Transport Workers Union, comes after waste management company SITA requested their employees increase their work load by 10 per cent each day.
Ally Schultz reports.
Bins around Brisbane usually emptied on Tuesdays will remain full next week as garbage collectors around the city strike for fairer working conditions.
Councillor John Campbell says it’s undecided as to when the bins will be collected.
John Campbell, Councillor: “Depending on the arrangement with the workers as to when they will come back to pick it up, it may be left to the weekend, it may be that they are left to the next week.”
The Transport Workers Union says the strike is due to low salaries and new, unreasonable productivity expectations put in place by waste management company SITA.
Peter Biagini, Transport Workers Union Branch Secretary: “More productivity means more bins are expected to be picked up in less amount of time in the day and that’s just unsafe as far as we’re concerned and our members aren’t going to accept it.”
The Union says the new changes will create safety concerns.
Peter Biagini, Transport Workers Union Branch Secretary: “I’d imagine the company expects them to work through lunch hours or driving breaks, it’s the only way possible that they can reduce them by twenty minutes a day to do the same amount of work.”
The Transport Workers Union has requested an eight per cent pay rise in the first year with a five per cent increase over the following two.
SITA has offered workers a four per cent pay rise over three years plus a new efficiency bonus plan worth an additional nine per cent.
The plan is based on performance benchmarks, including the collection of 144 bins per hour.
Residents and business owners in affected suburbs say the strike will present a problem.
Vox 1: “It would affect us quite heavily because our garbage is basically full when we put it out, um, don’t know what we’re gonna do.”
Vox 2: “It would be an inconvenience, yes.”
Unions say the contractual changes are the result of SITA failing to produce realistic financial estimates when competing for one of the country’s largest waste management contracts.
SITA was unavailable for comment today.
Alexandra Schultz, QUT News.