Local Shoalhaven Waste Workers Will Be Left in the Dumps if Council Does Not Act
Release date: 29/01/2016
TWU NSW Branch News, 28 January 2016
Transport Workers' Union NSW Secretary Michael Aird has called on Shoalhaven City Council to step in to protect local waste workers who risk being left in the dumps without pay, superannuation and employment.
Mr Aird was speaking after huge problems regarding safety and pay were exposed at Subloos company sites in Shoalhaven and Queensland.
"Since Shoalhaven City Council contracted Subloos to look after council's waste depots in 2010, there has been consistent and ongoing problems with this company in relation to safety and payment," Mr Aird said.
"Right now Subloos is four days late with wages and hard-working local waste workers and their families are worried they won't get paid. Subloos waste workers in Queensland have stopped work today over similar issues and we are deeply concerned the company is on the verge of trading while insolvent."
Local waste worker Gary Watson said that along with serious safety issues and constant late-payment of wages, he discovered that they had not been paid any superannuation.
"When I realised that I hadn't been getting any superannuation, my union advised me to contact the ATO and together we were able to recover over $20,000. This is going to make a huge difference when I retire," Mr Watson said.
"The outrageous thing is, along with not paying me any superannuation, they had been holding back my voluntary contributions from my wages for themselves!"
Mr Aird said that Redcliff Council in Queensland had stepped in to safeguard their local waste workers at Subloos.
"Redcliff Council has made a step in the right direction and by guaranteeing their waste workers four weeks of pay. They have also asked Subloos for $100,000 to put into a bond and a Proof of Solvency," Mr Aird said.
Mr Aird said that this situation was a symptom of low cost contracting within the waste industry.
"Companies tender low on contracts to pick up the work and then they seek to maintain their profits by underpaying employees, failing to maintain equipment and uphold safety standards in the workplace," Mr Aird said.
"We have been doing a lot of work to safeguard local waste workers' pay and conditions in other councils around NSW who are experiencing similar side-effects of low cost contracting."
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