2011 waste campaign kicked off with rally as JJ Richards workers strike
Sydney garbos staged a 24 hour stoppage and rally in the city on Tuesday 22 March: taking protected action for their right to a fair enterprise agreement as company JJ Richards continue to refuse to negotiate. Waste workers from throughout Sydney and around the state, along with TWU officials, joined the rally to support JJ Richards workers taking protected action.
TWU Senior Official Michael Aird said,
“In 2011 the TWU has already negotiated in principle agreements covering major transport companies in Australia and the thousands of drivers who work for them: however after 12 months the union is still fighting to get a fair deal for Western Sydney waste workers from JJ Richards.
“JJ Richards want to return to the days of slavery, and we won’t let this happen at the expense of our members.
“The TWU has been trying to progress enterprise agreement negotiations for workers on the JJ Richards Canterbury Council contract for over 12 months. JJ Richards continues to refuse to progress negotiations.
JJ Richards has used every stalling tactic in the book to stop the workers getting their agreement. Even the council who JJ Richards are working for have told JJ Richards to sign a union agreement: and still JJ Richards refuse.
“These people do a hard and dirty day’s work. All they ask for is a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work under a fair agreement negotiated with their union.
“JJ Richards are ideologically opposed to workers’ rights and a fair go, and refuse to accept the post WorkChoices system. Their un-Australian attitude belongs in the John Howard era, not now in 2011.”
JJ Richards workers voted ‘yes’ to strike action in their protected action ballot on 3 March.
This is the second protected action ballot which JJ Richards workers have voted on and in both ballots workers’ support for protected action was overwhelming.
Following this the Western Sydney JJ Richards workers were the subject of extensive media attention with employer organisation such as AMMA attacking their right to take protected action for a fair deal under the Fair Work Act: despite the fact these workers have voted ‘yes’ to protected action and have been fighting for an enterprise agreement for over 12 months.
The crisis in Sydney’s waste industry is endemic across companies that compete in a race to the bottom in wages and conditions for Sydney working people who do a job which is physical, hard and dirty.
The TWU calls on the NSW Local Government Association (LGA) to work with us to stop the JJ Richards disease spreading.
Following the rally the LGA committed to meeting with the union.
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