High and dry: TUW members and dumped Subloos employees gather at Shoalhaven City Council after losing their jobs on Tuesday.
Workers laid-off on Tuesday implored council on Thursday to fight harder for their entitlements and re-employment at local waste sites as soon as possible.
Council told all affected employees to apply for short-term working opportunities through a labour hire company. Workers were concerned that meant there was no guarantee and they could be left “high and dry”.
Council said some employees began work on Thursday through the system and would be an “interim measure” while waste management was reviewed.
TWU NSW warned council in 2011 about the dangers of Subloos’ low-cost contracting model. Employees said they continued to raise safety and payment concerns over the past four years, to no avail.
At Thursday’s meeting TWU south coast and southern branch secretary Robert Pirc said council denied any concerns were raised after 2011.
“Council chose the cheaper option to tender out the work. Pay, safety and maintenance concerns were raised,” he said.
The union said it would investigate the matter further.
Council said throughout the time Subloos held the contract it had worked with the company to ensure it met the terms of its contract and any issues raised were acted on.
The contract between Shoalhaven City Council and Subloos started in 2010 and was due for review at the end of June 2016.
When contacted Subloos referred the matter to tax firm Grant Thornton Australia. Grant Thornton Australia released a statement on Wednesday which confirmed an urgent investigation into the company’s affairs was under way.
“Unfortunately the company is not in a position to continue the employment of approximately 60 employees across the Nowra and Redcliffe operations,” the statement said.
“With the assistance of councils and other key stakeholders, employees outstanding wages were paid yesterday.”
This was not the case as of Thursday morning and council confirmed with TWU they would work to rectify the issue.
The mood was sombre among the employees on Thursday who were worried about dipping into their savings to survive until they started work again.
Shoalhaven City Council said the Ulladulla, Huskisson and West Nowra waste depots will remain open for business, however the smaller tips managed by Subloos will be closed over the weekend and until Friday, February 19.
Affected waste depot sites include Kangaroo Valley, Berry, Callala, Bendalong, Sussex Inlet, Lake Conjola and Kioloa. Any resident who had organised a bulky or green waste collection will also be in the lurch and have been advised to contact council on 4429 3129.
Buy Back Centres will temporarily close at all sites and will re-open on Friday, February 19 at Ulladulla, Huskisson and West Nowra only. Buy Back centres will remain closed at the smaller sites until further notice.
Red and yellow-topped residential garbage bin collections will not be affected by Subloos’ close of business.