‘Kick in the guts’: Coast garbos fear massive pay cuts
Coast garbos fear they could face a dramatic pay cut unless the council introduces new terms to its waste contract.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said the Sunshine Coast Council waste contract, going up for tender this year, failed to protect local garbos, meaning they were at risk of doing the same job for significantly less pay under new management.
TWU representative and Coast garbo of six years Hayden Poulter said if left the same the tender terms could mean a complete loss of livelihood for him and his family.
“The major concern is our job security and financial situation,” he said.
“After the next tender we could lose up to $6 and hour, if the new contractor decides to pay minimum wage and that’s a lot of money.
“It would mean we might not be able to afford health care, we wouldn’t be able to go out or go on holidays, we might have to put off getting married, I don’t even know how we would be able to afford to send our kid to school to be honest.
“It would really put us in a hole, I don’t know how any family would survive after that pay cut.”
Mr Poulter said a pay cut would be a “kick in the guts” and hoped council would alter the tender terms to provide him and the other 70 families reassurance.
“We are locals we are not money hungry; we are not looking to take advantage of anyone we are just looking for a fair go so we can keep living the life we are living,” he said.
“We want a decent crack at giving our families reassurance that we are going to be OK.
“At the moment it’s a ticking time bomb because you don’t know what’s going to happen, we could be told we have to reapply for our job or the company wants to give us $26 an hour when we’ve worked our way up to get paid say around $30.”
A petition, started by the TWU, to alter the tender terms to reflect the current Enterprise Bargaining Agreement has attracted more than 1000 signatures in just three weeks.
TWU expects the tender documents to be released in November, before a six to 10-week bidding process, which will determine the winning company.
TWU Sunshine Coast organiser Troy Fernandez said the future of the Coast garbos was in the council’s hands.
“It’s their responsibility to ensure that their supply chain is treating people well, they are the top of the supply chain, they have all the money, they decide who works for them and they decide what terms their contractors must comply with,” he said.
“All we are saying is we don’t want council to contract out to the bottom of the barrel, but ensure there is enough money in the contact that people can earn a decent living.”
Mr Fernandez said the council was considering the matter but were yet to make any commitments.
“We are hoping that the councillors do the right thing by the workers and their families in this contract … there is no need for these hard workers, who are keeping our community safe during this time of COVID-19, to be added to the list of people that are struggling in this tough time,” he said.
“These guys aren’t asking for more they are just asking to hold on to what they have.”
The Daily is waiting for a response from the council