Adelaide Cleanaway drivers vote to strike

A recent survey on industrial action amongst Cleanaway drivers has decided to plan strikes if problems continue

Adelaide Cleanaway drivers vote to strike
The TWU says Cleanaway drivers have voted to potentially go on strike

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) says 96 per cent of garbage drivers have voted yes to taking industrial action across Adelaide if problems with waste company Cleanaway continue.

The TWU says drivers are preparing to take action if debates around safe rostering, wages and entitlements continue, with the TWU warning the company to settle a fair deal to avoid waste chaos.

Following almost a year of protracted bargaining, the successful vote gives drivers across local government areas including the areas of Charles Sturt, Port Adelaide and Adelaide protections under the Fair Work Act to park up the trucks.

TWU says Cleanaway’s bargaining approach includes allegedly winding back important rostering provisions in the existing agreement that would see workers forced to work weekends.

The union says these changes would inhibit drivers’ abilities to effectively manage fatigue and could increase the chances of serious accidents.

Understaffed drivers have already reported being forced to work longer hours to cover roster gaps, with some workers denied leave because of driver shortages, while workers are also fighting against pay offers at half the rate of inflation, prompting fears drivers will have to work longer and harder to make ends meet.

The TWU says Cleanaway was recently held responsible by South Australia’s Supreme Court for a 2014 horror accident on the South Eastern Freeway that killed two motorists.

TWU SA/NT secretary Ian Smith says the emphatic yes vote should be a wakeup call to Cleanaway following the Supreme Court decision too.

RELATED ARTICLE: TWU slams Cleanaway's safety fine reductions

"Garbage truck drivers at Cleanaway are staring down an all-out assault on good conditions and fair pay. What’s on the table now is a backwards step, winding back strong rostering rules and replacing them with a substandard system that will mean workers are driving longer for less," Smith says.

"Waste workers do a thankless but critical job. Increasing the pressure on drivers and locking in wage cuts is no way to reward the workers who perform this essential service, nor is it the way to attract more drivers into the industry."

The TWU says the dangerous road transport industry needs sustainable rates of pay to link with safe working conditions for drivers.

Smith says the rates must increase for Cleanaway drivers to prevent workers from skipping breaks and driving longer hours to make ends meet.

"The ball’s in Cleanaway’s court," Smith says.

"Drivers have sent a clear message that safe working conditions are non-negotiable, and they’re prepared to take action if necessary.

"The company should stop playing games with the lives of garbage workers and their families and get back to the bargaining table to settle a fair agreement".

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