Garbage collectors trash ‘unfair’ wages

Dozens of garbage workers across Western Australia have walked off the job for 24 hours as they take part in industrial action.

Residents in South Perth, Fremantle, Bayswater, are some of the areas affected.

Salter Point resident Joey Goh says she was not expecting to see her bin full.

“I wasn’t aware there was a strike going on,” she says.

“It wasn’t a pleasant sight to wake up to. I live with a family of four, so we always need the bins to be emptied every week.”

About 70 workers turned out to protest in Malaga. Photo supplied by: Eloyise Braskic, TWU.

Mrs Goh says despite the inconvenience, she supports the industrial action.

“As a fellow labor worker, I definitely sympathise with the garbage collectors,’’ she says.

“It’s not an easy job, and I think many people overlook that.’’

Mrs Goh says she’s concerned about potential health impacts.

“And you know what not emptying your bins will do? Exactly that.”

About 70 workers gathered outside of Cleanaway’s facility in Malaga at 4am to protest pay and working conditions.

Transport Worker Union of Western Australia branch secretary Tim Dawson is hoping Cleanway will listen to worker’s concerns.

TWU WA Branch Secretary Tim Dawson says workers will stand for their rights. Photo: Carolyn Tan.

“Cleanaway is not coming to the table,” he says.

Mr Dawson claims Cleanaway is not negotiating in good faith and being unreasonable.

Listen to more from Tim Dawson.

Mr Dawson says taking industrial action is a last resort.

“They don’t want to do this. They haven’t taken industrial action against Cleanaway for well over a decade.”

Protester falls over in the midst of the rally. Photo: Eloyise Braskic, TWU.

Mr Dawson says inadequate pay affects workers and their families.

“You take money off workers means you’re taking money off their families,” he says.

“They work hard, long hours, to be able to provide for their family.”

Mr Dawson says emptying bins before anyone is awake is no easy task.

“If you want them to work on weekends, you should be paying them the proper overtime rates for it,” he says.

“Some of them have been doing this for decades now. It’s not unreasonable to ask to be properly compensated for the time and work they put in.”

Cleanaway has been contacted for comment.