Adelaide drivers are officially taking action today against Cleanaway

Adelaide garbage truck drivers strike today

The TWU standing with Adelaide Cleanaway drivers – TWU Facebook

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has announced that garbage truck drivers across greater Adelaide will strike today after almost a year of negotiations with waste giant Cleanaway.

The TWU says Cleanaway has refused to compromise on rostering changes that will adversely impact drivers’ work-life balance and undermine fatigue management, including by making weekend work compulsory.

The union says exhausted drivers are already reporting serious safety concerns as they are forced to work longer hours to cover roster gaps.

Road transport is a dangerous industry, with the TWU saying there’s strong links between sustainable rates of pay and safe working conditions.

Cleanaway’s recent wage proposal was of an increase that sits at half the rate of inflation, with the union saying it only increases the pressure on drivers who will have to work longer hours or drive tired to make up for real wage cuts.

The strike will impact residential waste collection across local government areas such as the cities of Charles Sturt, Port Adelaide Enfield, Marion and Adelaide, with commercial operators like the Adelaide Airport, On The Run and the Department of Education also being impacted.

The strike follows garbage truck drivers last week returning with a 96 per cent yes vote to taking 24-hour industrial action to break the bargains and warn that strike action would occur if Cleanaway didn’t change its offer.

RELATED ARTICLE: Adelaide Cleanaway drivers vote to strike

The strike will impact the collection of approximately 45,000 bins across the greater Adelaide region.

TWU SA/ NT secretary Ian Smith says the industrial action is a last resort, but Cleanaway drivers haven’t been given a choice.

“Cleanaway drivers will strike on Friday to send management a clear message that workplace safety and fair recognition for their work are non-negotiable,” Smith says. 

“Waste work is hard work. When the rest of the community is still asleep, waste drivers are already behind the wheel performing an essential service.

“They do it without complaint because they know the community is counting on them, but that doesn’t mean they should be forced to accept a shoddy deal”.

Smith says effective fatigue management and fair pay is vital to retaining skilled drivers in the industry.

If they don’t receive these necessities, Smith warns drivers will be exhausted and more tragic incidents may occur. 

“As the economic employers engaging Cleanaway, councils also have a responsibility here to ensure waste contracts lift standards and protect workers’ conditions,” Smith says.

“Cleanaway’s forgotten that its drivers are the backbone of the company. It must drop its tactics and get back to the bargaining table to settle a safe and fair deal with its drivers.”

Cleanaway’s attempts to water down workplace safety follow the South Australian Supreme Court finding the company guilty for a 2014 crash on the South Eastern Freeway that killed two motorists.

The decision said Cleanaway failed to appropriately induct their driver and a crash investigator reported faulty brake lining should have been replaced prior to the incident.

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