The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has found that domestic or commercial waste drivers cannot be represented by the Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy, Industrial Union of Employees, Queensland (CFMEUQ).
This was a hard fight but a great win that not only benefits those at the Ipswich City Council, the target of the CFMEU QLD, but all waste workers across Australia.
The ruling came after the CFMEUQ spent three days trying to convince the QIRC that Ipswich garbo’s were not truck drivers, amongst other claims.
As the ruling states, ‘any person employed by Ipswich City Council in the occupation or calling of domestic or commercial waster driver is not eligible to be a member of the CFMEU QLD.’
Your TWU has a very long history of standing up for waste workers and this decision illustrates that. And now the ruling has been made, your TWU is back to business and will continue to fight to secure a better deal for waste industry workers across Queensland.
HOW IT HAPPENED
In January 2014 Commissioner Fisher of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission QIRC heard an application for declarations brought by Ipswich City Council against the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union of Queensland (CFMEUQ). The CFMEUQ had signed up a number of side loader and other waste drivers and Council and your TWU disputed their right to do so.
Historically the CFMEUQ has been unable to represent “motor truck drivers wherever employed”.
Over the course of a 3 day hearing the QIRC heard evidence from a number of side loader drivers relating to their duties. The focus of much of the evidence was the amount of time that garboes spend in driving their vehicle and the amount of time they spend operating the controls of the side loading equipment
‘We have a long and proud history of representing Garbage workers here at the TWU,’ State Secretary Peter Biagini said. ‘In fact, in line with our policy of employing officials from the industy 3 of our organisers are former garbos so we were always going to fight this tooth and nail.’
The case concluded with some fairly lengthy legal argument from all sides. Counsel for the TWU observed that “if it looks like a truck and drives like a truck then its probably a truck”.
‘We had faith that our case would stand up in court but at the end of the day this sort of nonsense is a distraction,’ Waste Industry Coordinator and former Garbo Craig Williams said. ‘My priority is fighting to maintain and improve the wages and conditions of Waste Workers so while the lawyers are in the courts we’re just getting on with the job.’