‘Treated horrifically’: Cleanaway waste workers stage fifth protest in

Waste workers have held their fifth protest in the space of four months as they continue their dispute against major waste management company Cleanaway over working conditions and wages.


The strike action began at 7.15am on Tuesday at the Cleanaway Erskine Park site with workers  from the City of Sydney, Randwick, Erskine Park, Silverwater depots, while another protest was occurring at the same time in Canberra.  

Cleanaway Waste Management has more than 6,000 employees across Australia with many workers contesting longer shifts, weekend work and unsatisfactory pay.

The Transport Workers’ Union of Australia held a press conference on Tuesday morning with New South Wales/Queensland Secretary Richard Olsen slamming the company’s lack of action after it announced a $49 million half-year profit after tax.

Mr Olsen said workers were seeking a rollover in their conditions and improvement in their wages after being “treated horrifically” by their employer. 

“(It’s) not much to ask for when we’re considering CPI running at over seven per cent, cost of living going through the roof, the profits of this company of $49 million-plus in the first six months of this financial year – you wouldn’t have thought this would be a major ask,” Mr Olsen said.

“These people have had to strike for five days over the past four months in an attempt secure a reasonable enterprise agreement.

“That is yet to be had because we know that this company, a national company has a national agenda against the workforce.

“They’re trying to rip the heart out of the workforce, decreasing the take home pay which they can ill afford to have and on that basis this industrial action will continue until that agreement is reached.”

Workers across multiple sites in Victoria, WA and in Noosa, Queensland recently voted heavily in favour of the right to strike in protected action ballots following complaints employees were being overworked while earning less.

A workplace death at Cleanaway’s Badgery Creek depot is under investigation by a NSW safety regulator after a worker was discovered “wedged between machinery” in February.

The Queensland Department of Environment and Science laid 12 charges against the company for environmental offences totalling a maximum penalty of $36.5 million in a matter listed before the Ipswich Magistrates Court on April 24.

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