THE ACT Government has encouraged the ACT branch of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to play fair in enterprise bargaining after more than 20 garbage truck drivers staged an apparent protest this morning by parking several vehicles outside the Legislative Assembly.
The garbage collectors drove their trucks, which are owned by their current employer Cleanaway, in a group along London Circuit to the Legislative Assembly. Police attended the scene and the trucks moved on without incident.
In a statement this afternoon, Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) encouraged local TWU members to “bargain in good faith” over working conditions that will apply when a new company, SITA, takes over household recycling and garbage collection from current contractor Cleanaway at the end of the month.
The TWU is currently negotiating the new enterprise agreement that will apply from October 29, when SITA takes over the government waste collection contract. The union’s ACT branch was unable to provide a spokesperson to confirm whether this morning’s event was officially organised or endorsed in any way by the TWU.
It is not clear whether the event was linked to any particular issue.
The executive director of the TAMS Business Enterprise Division, Phillip Perram, complained the Government was not given any warning of the action, which he believed was intended to disrupt traffic on London Circuit.
“This morning’s action, which disrupted City traffic, was very disappointing, particularly given the ACT Government’s continued meetings with SITA and the TWU including one scheduled early next week to discuss the enterprise agreement negotiations,” Mr Perram said.
“SITA has presented an enterprise agreement to the ACT Government and to the TWU for consideration. Their position is that it offers [wage rates] and conditions of employment [that are] not less favourable than the current agreement. The ACT Government is currently examining that position.”
TAMS were notified about the apparent protest by an ACT public servant who works in the city at about 9.30am, according to a spokesperson.
Mr Perram said that despite the action this morning by drivers, the TWU has advised that all normal household recycling and garbage collections will be collected today.