Waste services workers at the City of Sydney have this morning walked off the job in response to management’s refusal to consult with them over a proposal to outsource household garbage collection to a private contractor without an open tender process.

Almost 100 waste services staff voted to immediately stop work this morning after management refused to answer their questions or undertake genuine consultation regarding the proposal to hand over the work to private contractor Cleanaway.

Workers had been seeking meetings with management for several weeks in an attempt to resolve the dispute, before being told this morning that they would not have their questions answered.

The United Services Union said the outsourcing proposal was deeply flawed and had caused a great deal of angst and uncertainty among the City of Sydney’s loyal workforce.

“Workers are concerned by this plan which would see a private contractor take over all household garbage collection across the city without an open and transparent tender process or expressions of interest,” USU general secretary Graeme Kelly OAM said.

“Workers have spent weeks seeking a meeting with management to discuss this proposal, and when it finally took place they were simply told their questions would not be answered and no negotiation would be entered into.

“Waste services workers feel they have been left with no choice but to stop work in an effort to force the City of Sydney to undertake genuine consultation with them.”

Mr Kelly said there were serious concerns about the proposal, the impacts on workers and the community, and the lack of transparency involved in the multi-million dollar contract.

“A proposal that hands over a huge contract to a private company without a tender process or open expressions of interest should ring alarm bells for every ratepayer in the City of Sydney,” he said.

“Management has refused to answer whether this proposal is about cutting costs or even state that it would be cheaper than retaining the current workforce.

“For ratepayers, this plan would mean the loss of the effective and efficient council waste services members who go out of their way every day for the residents of the City of Sydney.

“Our members know their local community, they treat residents with respect, and over many years of dedicated work they have come to know those that need special help.

“If the City of Sydney takes the easy road of contracting out garbage services instead of retaining a well-trained, passionate, committed workforce, the community will be left the poorer for it.”

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