Hundreds of commercial bins in Wollongong were not picked up yesterday after garbage truck drivers working for waste operator Cleanaway walked off the job. The day-long strike involved 18 of the 22 drivers at Cleanaway's Unanderra operations, which services commercial clients including large supermarket and fast food chains as well as small businesses. Read more: Why some Illawarra patients might have to spend an extra night in hospital this week Workers took industrial action as part of a national campaign for improved working conditions, including hours and pay. Representing the striking workers, TWU South Coast and Southern sub-branch secretary Robert Pirc said the stop-work came after a breakdown in negotiations between workers and Cleanaway. "Negotiations for the new EBA have not been going well, with the company trying to strip back conditions that have already been fought for and won," he said. Workers are specifically concerns about changing the definition of ordinary work hours, which would limit rates of overtime. "When you get to the table, the last thing you expect is the company to attack your current conditions," Mr Pirc said. A Cleanaway spokesperson said it pay offer exceeded private sector average wage growth of 3.8 per cent in the March quarter, while supporting a flexible working model. "Cleanaway is working on increasing employee workplace flexibly to support an employee's individual circumstances and to ensure it can attract and retain a diverse workforce, reflecting our community values," the spokesperson said. "The Company understands that some employees may not want to vary their working roster, however when making a major change to an employee's roster the agreement requires Cleanaway to consult with the affected employees and consider any impact to their family or caring responsibilities." Workers in Sydney and Victoria also went on strike, as part of ongoing disputes with the City of Sydney and councils in Victoria, following on from their colleagues in other states around Australia. The TWU and Cleanaway are also locked in a Federal Court battle over obligations to provide information to workers and the Fair Work Commission for a protected action ballot, which the union alleges delayed workers accessing their rights. Mr Pirc said with Cleanaway having reported a $49 million half-year profit, workers were owed additional compensation after the pressures of the pandemic. "When most people were sitting at home through lock down, these guys were out there working, keeping the streets clean," he said. "For them to be repaid in this matter, we find absolutely despicable." In February this year, a Cleanaway worker was found wedged between machinery in Badgerys Creek and the NSW safety regulator is now investigating. A driver was killed in a separate incident when his Cleanaway truck rolled on the Stuart Highway in 2022. The Cleanaway spokesperson said it hoped to reach a resolution soon. "Cleanaway will continue to communicate with its workforce and productively engage in progressing the workplace agreements with the aim of settling terms and conditions that will set up Cleanaway's workforce for the future." Speaking outside Sydney Town Hall, the TWU flagged further action, including targeting waste contractor JJ Richards, which also operates in the Illawarra. Our news app has had a makeover, making it faster and giving you access to even more great content. Download The Illawarra Mercury news app in the Apple Store and Google Play.